Friday, September 29, 2006

Guy Marks: "Loving You Has Made Me Bananas"

As mentioned earlier, I've been transferring alot of my analogue media into digital form. My childhood best buddy, Michael Nichols, and I used to make a habit out of trading mix tapes. I'm sure anyone who has a remote interest in reading or maintaining music blogs shares that hobby.

Anyway, one of the goofiest songs he ever put on there was a ditty called "Loving You Has Made Me Bananas" by an entertainer/comedian named Guy Marks who cranked out this one-hit-wonder. It appears from the various shout outs on the web that this song is exceedingly difficult to find since all the records it was ever published on are now out of print, so I feel it is my civic duty to upload this tune for the masses. The lyrics are definitely funny and we might as well another one to add to the ear worm bin....the only problem is that the recording I have clearly mentions someone by the name of Dickie Ryan providing vocals. Does anyone have any more information on this?

Listen to:
"Loving You Has Made Me Bananas"

IMDB bio on Guy Marks
Wiki entry for Guy Marks

This song was released in 1968 so I doubt Guy Marks has a Myspace, but there is plenty of information out on his acting and comedic contributuions.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

best burger in the world

I had the best freaking burger in the world yesterday and it was so good, I'm still thinking about it at 11:30pm at night.

I had forgotten how much I love Star Seeds Cafe. Its a 24 hour diner in Austin near campus and for me a frequent recharger zone for the tired, out-of-breath, danced-out goths/club kids I used to hang around with a bit during my glory days in college. 4:30 in the morning, no matter what you ordered, you were guaranteed a fantastic meal cooked to perfection whether it be a stack of ginger pancakes dripping with syrup with a side of eggs over biscuits and sausage gravy or a mound of sizzling fajita beef with hot tortillas and all the sides. I went back for the first time in forever with Sarah on Friday (she had the biscuits/gravy/eggs and I had chicken fried steak with *real* mashed potatoes and corn) and it was still good. I figured since Trav hadn't been there before, I'd take him there this weekend.

Before I go into the details of the heavenly burger, I should note that although it was a game day and there were swarms of folks wearing burnt orange T-shirts around campus, there was not a spot of orange in the entire restaurant. This makes me incredibly proud.

OMG the was more than $10 and totally worth it. I got the Star Seed's special burger. Atop the thick grilled patty, parmesan cheese melted over fried shallots, mushrooms, chili and bacon. In addition, all of this was dressed up with a fried egg, slices of avocado, fresh greens, 2 pieces of tomato and a mustard based sauce. When I bit into the thing the yolk busted open oozing yellow yummy yolky goodness all over the bacon grease. If I ever need to be executed, I'm going to request a Star Seed's burger for my last meal.

On the music front, I've discovered another member of the disbanded Schrödinger’s Ca is in another band now. Damn good stuff and perfect for an 80's/90's gal like me. However, Jackson Blacklock could easily be a commercial success right now. For one thing, he's damn attractive. Secondly, he's got talent. The band is called Cynsin.

I completed Adzuki Bean Pod #6: F is for Flutes late last night as well. People need to more about Deepak Ram. It's a shame if you go through life without knowing what he sounds like. AS my friend Claudia put it: Deepak Ram is insanely, deliriously, heavenly good ...

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Cynsin featuring Jackson Blacklock

If Prince, Ima Robot and Kraftwerk sat down for tea and crumpets, Jackson Blacklock would be the host.

Sounds far fetched? Well, not really. Blacklock, one of the founding members of the now disbanded Schrödinger’s Cat (best fucking acapella boy band in the world) ought to be the new poster boy of synth pop happiness. However, pigeon holing his music into that category alone would be a disservice. Working with his friend Rob Huntley, Cynsin the band features expert programming, incredibly catchy tunes and tongue in cheek lyrics. Any one of the songs on their myspace could easily be a top 40 hit.

As one would expect from a former member of Schrödinger’s Cat, Jackon's vox is sexy, solid and is capable of handling funk just as easily as pop (and I know first hand that he's fine with belting out embarrassing Madrigals as well).... and hot damn, that boy is good looking. You've heard me rave about John Pointer (also another S-cat member) before. Well, Jackson is another example of the fine talent that comprised of that group. So, for you Schrödinger’s Cat's nostalgics out there who are waiting anxiously for the next reunion show, think of it this way: Now that the group has performed mitosis, you're getting more cool music at a faster rate. :)

Listen to:
"Robot Fantasy"
"Jealous of Madonna"

Cynsin's Myspace
Cynsin's Garage Band Profile
Jackson's Myspace
Sauce's Myspace (another band that Jackson is in)
Old Daily Texan Article on Scrodinger's Cat

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Adzuki Bean Pod #6 is up!

This is my vanity podcast...and then the microphone breaks. In case you didn't know, my main instrument is flute. Why is there not a pic of me playing flute in the sidebar? Well, in photographs, my flute usually looks like a shiny stick, so I don't include it in any of my adventures in narcissism. Anyway I've played that instrument for 20 years now. 20 freaking years!

While cleaning out my closet I came across a whole box of rehearsal, competition and random recordings with my various ensembles spanning almost 20 years. Basically I had casettes from jr. high on stuck in a shoebox, so I figured I'd transfer them to digital files and include a few into the podcast for shits and giggles. Fortunately, I've got the show balanced out with other fantastic more talented musicians, so your ears won't bleed. And no, it's not all classical, so don't fret.

Head on over there and check it out:
"Adzuki Bean Pod #6: F is for Flute"

BTW, did you know that Tim Young from the Face of Today and the man behind Contrast Podcast is also a flautist? He's in a band called Cut and they're pretty darn good, but I have yet to hear any flute stuff. Do me a favor and convince him to incorporate some flute into their music, will ya?

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Weird Al Yankovic

I'm a close and personal friend of Al's. Are you?

I happen to love Al to death. I guess I have a thing for talented nerds. He's my hero. But seriously, the man has got tons of talent. He lyrics never fail to crack me up and I love the videos, but what I am constantly struck by is his vocal flexibility and dead-on style parodies. I belive it was Kurt Cobain who said he knew Nirvana had made it big when Weird Al parodied them. Indeed, musicians should be flattered.

Because I'm bored with a lot of the current music out there right now, I'm highly anticipating Al's new record Straight Outta Lynwood which pokes fun at Chamillionaire, James Blunt, R. Kelly...and Green Day just to name a few.

Pay close attention to the Wikipedia entry he's updating.

Listen to:
"Don't Download This"
"You're Pitiful"(parody of "You're Beautiful" by James Blunt who, by the way, gave his blessings, but unfortunately the record company didn't)

Weird Al's Myspace (become a close and personal friend!)
Weird Al's Official Website
Weird Al Wiki Entry

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

glass fish

I just got done taking a series of glasswork classes with the wonderful Anne Ricketts. If you're in Austin and you're into flameworking/glass bead making try to take a class with her. She's great.

For my first fish ever, I think I did a good job! I was so nervous about the possibility of the fins cooling down too quickly and shattering one me, but it came out fine. I'm thinking this fish is a gal:

What should I name her?

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Disney Music is Evil...Russian Pas de Chat

I can't stand people who love Disney. I'm not including kids, of course, but I'm talking about functional adults who talk about Disney movies as if they're examples of quality cinema. In a whole other category unto itself are those who are immense fans of Disney music--those insipid ooey gooey tunes that most definitely manifest themselves as godawful earworms in the middle of the night.

So, you can imagine the horror I went through yesterday when my regular ballet teacher was replaced by the demonic amalgamated presence of Princess-what's-her-name-Cinderella-Snow White-Bell-Pochahontas-Ariel-Bambie creature dancing and prancing before me. Ah yes, this was a Disney lover at it's worst down to her sweet dimply smile, irritatingly squeaky voice and of course, poor choice in music.

Have you ever done plie's to "Chim Chimmeny?" I think not and no one else should ever be subjected to that sort of torture. What's next? The whole back catalogue of Brittany Spears while doing grand jete's in center?

I remember at one point, the CD player changing discs and all of a sudden a harpsichord version of Bach's Invention #13 comes on (oh, relief finally) and the gal keeped saying to herself "Now which movies is this from...I don't recognize it. Aristocats maybe? I guess I'll go back to Beauty and the Beast"

Needless to say, I was about ready to kill someone towards the end of class.

On a somewhat related note, look at me. Wheeee! I may be getting old and crickety, but I can still jump, damnit. Um, that's a Russian styled pas de chat by the way.

russian pas de chat cindy chang

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Tuesday, September 19, 2006

it's the thought that counts

My husband, wanting to be a sweetheart, placed a peach in my bag for me to snack on before I headed off for work this morning (he knows food makes me happy). Thing is, in his zombie-esque state at 6am in the morning, he didn't think to wrap it in anything. The peach was really ripe and well, you get the picture....

Anyhow, there's peach carnage smeared all over the inside of my bag now. The up side is that there's a plume of sticky sweet fragrance covering up the smell of mildew in my office.

Austin City Limits 2006

I absolutely love this picture of newcomer KT Tunstall's boots from the festival website as she's rocking on stage (and popping her ACL cherry)...that girl is my new crush, let me tell ya. There has been a LOT of coverage this past week for ACL which wrapped up on Sunday and since other bloggers are a lot more eloquent than I, check them out.

KUT, has a bunch of fantastic streaming podcasts and sound clips from the event, so if you couldn't go to the festival, or like so many of my friends, ended up missing most of days 2 and 3 due to heat exhaustion, you can listen to David Brown deliver his fantastic reports from the cool comfort of your home/office.

Listen (mp3s courtesy of KUT):
ACL Wrap Up
ACL Day 3 Podcast
ACL Day 2 Podcast
ACL Day 1 Podcast

Austin City Limits Official Site (with pictures galleries and blog posts) ACL coverage (tons of media)

Ah the fond memories of year #1: Am I standing in line for nachos or the port-a-potties?

Friday, September 15, 2006


(photo by Donna Clancy-Goetz)

If you enjoy groups such as the Mediaeval Babes, Collide or Dead Can Dance...(or you're a closeted run-of-the-mill Reni-Goth)check out Mirabilis.

This attractive Austin based duo, comprised of Machine of the Garden's Summer Bowman and Dru Allen from This Ascension, features etherial vocals and rich sounds from their mainly acapella repertoire. Their first album Pliades contains original works and beautiful old melodies such as Weep O Mine Eyes and Scarborough Faire. If you're in the mood for something lovely, check these ladies out.

Listen to:
"Riu Riu Chiu"
(courtesy of official website)

Mirabilis Official Web Page
Mirabilis' Myspace
Purchase Album Pliades from Millar Pillar Records

Great Quote...

"You need to like yourself more than you like anyone. And that’s the same for everyone. We all need to get ready to spend a lot of time being alone with ourselves because you spend most of your life alone. And if you don’t like yourself and get comfortable with yourself, you’re going to have an awful life.”
---Anne Richards

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Dr. Grandpa Fricke's Obituary

Dr. Edwin F. Fricke, Merrimack

FRICKE – Died September 7, in Nashua. Dr. Edwin F. Fricke, 96, formerly of Merrimack, NH. There are no calling hours. The family will hold a private memorial service at a later date. The family requests that donations in memory of Dr. Fricke be sent to Kitty Angels, P.O. Box 638, Tyngsboro, MA 01879. The CREMATION SOCIETY OF NEW HAMPSHIRE, in Manchester, assisted the family with arrangements.

Dr. Edwin F. Fricke, Merrimack
Worked as engineer on Manhattan Project

Published: Sunday, Sep. 10, 2006

Dr. Edwin F. Fricke, 96, of Merrimack, died Sept. 7, 2006, at Greenbrier Terrace Healthcare Center in Nashua.

Dr. Fricke was born in 1910 in Mackay, Idaho, son of late William H. Fricke and Maude Ewing Fricke.

He was the widower of Harriet Gronbeck Fricke, who died in 1993.

Dr. Fricke was a mechanical engineer during World War II and worked on the development of synthetic plants and as an engineer on the Manhattan Project. He was a senior scientist and staff engineer at Argonne National Laboratory. He later joined the Nuclear Energy Products Division of ACF Industries as a senior physicist.

He joined Republic Aviation Corp. in 1959 as a senior staff engineer and chief of nuclear analysis. He joined Bell Aerosystems in 1965 as a research scientist and Sanders Associates in 1966.

He taught advanced electrodynamics and microwave theory at Fournier Institute of Technology, and graduate nuclear physics at Hofstra University over a five-year period.

Dr. Fricke was a member of the American Nuclear Society, American Chemical Society, American Physical Society, Sigma XI and numerous other professional societies.

In 1970, after the Fields Covered Bridge in Merrimack burned, he designed and built the longest suspension bridge in New Hampshire, so that his children would have access to school transportation. He served as a Boy Scout leader and was highly interested in his children’s science projects. He loved his garden and designed elaborate security systems for it that would keep even the most obstinate of “varmints” at bay.

He completed his bachelor’s of science degree in chemistry, physics and mathematics at the University of Idaho and received a Ph.D. in physics from the University of California, Los Angeles, in 1940.

A complex individual with a subtle sense of humor, he always aimed for the top and usually succeeded. His life can be called nothing less than grand.

Besides his wife and parents, he was predeceased by his granddaughter, Eliza Christina Penrod, who died in 1981.

Survivors include five children, Kathleen Wainman and her husband, Clifford, of Griggsville, Ill., William Fricke and his wife, Anna, of New Fairfield, Conn., Robert Fricke and his wife, Gail, of Abingdon, Md., Karen Penrod and her husband, Allen, of New Boston, and Edwin Fricke Jr. and his wife, Karen, of Smyrna, Tenn.; nine grandchildren and six great-grandchildren. He also leaves behind his beloved cat Yellowjacket.

The Cremation Society of New Hampshire of Manchester is in charge of the arrangements.

I'm most frustrated that a lot of the magnificent details of my husband's grandfather were not known to him until after he read this obituary. Either his family thought the stories of senility were more interesting to tell or perhaps they were simply easier to remember, but I'm not sure....I'm most touched by the story of the suspension bridge Dr. Fricke built over the river by his house so that his kids could go to school.


Wednesday, September 13, 2006

The Interiors

Check out these Chicago rockers, the Interiors.

From the first few bars of the song "I'm so Happy" you'll find yourself completely hooked as your toes start taping to the strong bass line. For me, I'm really drawn to way they texturize their songs with interesting rhythm and beats (makes sense since they cite a love for African music in their bio). The percussive elements equally share space with the vox which joins in effortlessly. Their sound is oddly familiar and yet difficult to categorize, retro and modern all at the same time. The music is accessible but not dull.

Chase Duncan's soulful vocals are absolutely solid as he croons out interesting lyrics such as these (from "The Bug"):

The President locked the oval office
For fear of catching the bug.
And persons who are much better than you
Are locked up there with him, safe from the bug.

Doctors dress in bird masks and pointed hats
Drenched in vinegar.
While down in the ghetto
Bodies are burning, deeper holes are dug.

I also already have a favorite quote from these guys (taken totally out of context of course from this interview):
We also vigorously oppose force feeding of any kind, unless it's Kate Moss.

Drummer, Brian Lubinsky was kind enough to contact this blog and send me some mp3s for your aural pleasure.

Listen to:

"I'm so Happy"
"You Should Have Known"

The Interiors Official Website
The Interiors Myspace

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Constrast Podcast #24: Entrance Music for a Film

EVERYONE has a film or two (or three or more) that they've made up in their heads complete with full soundtrack and film score. My favorite Scotsman of the hour, Colin, from the MP3 blog Let's Kiss and Make Up wanted bloggers to share their opening songs with his theme. This is probable one of my favorite themes so far.

As always, many thanks to Tim Young from the Face of Today for uploading and compiling:

Contrast Podcast #24: Entrance Music for a Film.

You can hear my obnoxiously loud vox on this one (I really need to invest in a better microphone if I want to keep doing this) as I introduce a song from Mr. Gone-Missing-Erik-Scott-Johnston who was noted in the post below. All the other intros are fantastic and you get a glimpses of various film ideas that may or may not ever come into fruition. You never know!

On a totally unrelated note, because of Contrast Podcast, I suddenly have a renewed interest in the Cocteau Twins.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

costume party!

My friend Angie celebrated her birthday this weekend and asked us to dress up either as our favorite artists or a favorite piece of art. And of course, knowing my buddies, everyone enthusiastically participated. I almost went as Frida Khalo, but I'm glad I didn't because that's what the birthday gal went as. :)

Here's Angie and her husband Phil as Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera:

Wendy went as an Edward Gorey (once a goth, always a goth...) and she's holding Juliet, who was a baby Warhol. Notice the soup can affixed to her turtleneck:

Cassandra as Hope by George Fredrick Watts:

I think Robert was my fave as Vincent Van Gogh. He rendered himself to resemble a self portrait:

Summer and Roger went as Greek statues. As Roger put it so eloquently, "it would be more authentic with a boob hanging out:

I love this picture of Lisa as Shag with her sister, the birthday gal:

Ross as a Salvador Dali:

My husband went as Laocoon because he thought it would be funny given his un-godlike physique. I think he looks like an emaciated Tarzan, but that's okay, I love him even more for it. I also get a great kick out of the "sons" consisting of two stuffed kitties hanging from his belt loop and the fact that he's got a print out of the picture affixed to his chest in case you couldn't tell what he was:

Here he is at home slaying the giant snake... did you know that Toys R Us has a policy of not selling snakes? Weird eh. Fortunately, the locally owned Toy Joy came to the rescue. We were hoping for a cute fuzzy snake to match the "sons" but the one they had was pretty cool too as it was really realistic looking...

Instead of Kahlo, I decided to go with impressionist Edgar Degas. I'm pretty much dressed up as one his garden variety dancers. I dismantled my wedding gown to make this costume and I also wore my pointe shoes all night. Ouch.

Here's a picture of the back we took before heading out. The roses in my hair kept falling out all night...

I think the sash is what makes the costume really.

Here are a couple of pictures of people wearing actual works of art/commisioned pieces. Unfortunately, don't remember ther names of the artists...
I had guessed Jackson Pollock, but I was wrong. Lee had this shirt commissioned for him by a local artist. Juliet seems to be having a blast standing on his chest:

I can't remember what Mary went as, but the shirt is freaking cool (** Edit** Mary went as Jean-Michel Basquiat. Thanks Wendy!):

Alice also wore a commissioned piece:

I know Matt went as post-ear-trauma Van Gogh, but I can't remember the piece Terri wore on her shirt. It sorta looks like a Paul Klee from here (**edit** apprently she went as Miro. Cool, it does look like like Klee...):

Another cool pic of Robert as Vincent:

Another of Wendy Gorey:

Towards the end of the party, even the snake was getting into the groove. Here he is wearing Phil Diego Rivera facial hair:

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Erik Scott Johnston

Where in the world is Erik Scott Johnston (not to be confused with guitar god, Eric Johnson)?

His website is down, I can't find his CDs on CD Baby any longer and google hasn't turned up any fruitful information. In this day in age, it's almost impossible to hide...

Johnston, a Texas native from Plano who graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with an economics degree in the Fall of 2000 was one of those people you really wanted to hate, but couldn't due to his lovely personality. And no, I'm not dripping with sarcasm. He really was a cool guy....

We were in orchestra together and also shared a Real Analysis and Algrebraic Structures course. If I recall correctly, he was double majoring in mathematics at the time. Erik was someone I considered a polymath (another fellow classmate Felica Day, who was also math/music major and is now an actress, deserves that title as well... ) Although it's typical for math types to excel at music, Erik was beyond just skilled--he was fucking gifted in my opinion.

Remeber that party scene in Amadeus where Mozart would entertain people by taking a tune and reproducing it in the style of any composer named? Erik could do that. One of my favorites was his jazz variations on Flight of the Bumble Bee. On any given evening at the Student Union, Erik would serenade the masses at the piano seducing plenty of college gals (and guys) as his sweet tunes drifted through the building. He became such a fixture that the Daily Texan featured an article on him back in 1998.

In 2000, he released an album of original piano compositions. The music is very film score like and easy to listen to, full of suprises and technical agility. I was hoping for more from him in the future, but for now, I'll have to wonder if he's been sucked into the drudgery of the work world and just hasn't had time to devote to his music. :(

I hope not, so if you read this, Erik, holler and tell us how you are doing.

Listen to:
"Sound and the Fury"
"Intergallactic Butterflies"

(photo by Charles Luu from Daily Texan)

Saturday, September 09, 2006

missing score

I've nearly torn the house apart trying to find a missing piano score that goes with my volume of Selected Flute Solos published by Carl Fischer. I'm so frustrated. It's a huge book. It shouldn't be difficult to misplace.

I'm sure my friend Duc has it as he's been my accompanist for the past 6 years but he insists he doesn't. Thing is, the guy has moved about 4 times since I've known him and I can't help but wonder if it is lost amongst his stash of music or trapped beneath a box of Sanrio items or something (this is the friend with the Hello Kitty rice cooker). Grrr. It's tempting to just buy another volume since it's just 20 bucks, but then knowing my luck, it's going to show up behind the television all of a sudden.

In other completely unrelated news...there was a freaking fly over for the UT/Ohio State game. I vehemently hate football and the fans. I really do. It wasn't even just 1 plane that flew over, but rather six Marine F/A-18 Hornets AND they had a practice run yesterday. I understand this ain't small potatos, they need to practice, and I'm usually a sucker for pagentry, but I still think it's a fucking waste of fuel especially with gas prices these days.

Friday, September 08, 2006

tattoo design

This is a details from a larger piece I did. An X-buddy of mine had the eye section tattooed onto his left shoulder blade...heh.

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being rachel

I think I did this one in grad school, if I recall correctly. This is done with prisma color and pastels on paper:

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just transferring old sketches to this blog...This one is in pencil, done in college:

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Dr. Grandpa Fricke

My husband's grandfather passed away yesterday. I've only met him once, but he seemed to be a very intelligent and interesting person. He was a physicist, worked on the Manhattan Project and various other nuclear related research...and had an unhealthy obsession with cats (can you tell he's related to my husband?) In fact, at one point he had 96 of them in his home before the house was condemned.

At the time he was 94, living in a retirement home, completely deaf, shriveled and generally unhappy seeming. We chatted a little about mathematics and he showed us his various diplomas, publications and certificates. He was an academic with a failing mind. It was definitely depressing seeing what age and deteriorating health could do to a human. So, to be honest I was relieved to hear that he had passed.

I think my husband was too, but he was unable to sleep last night. Not because of his grandfather dying (although it is sad that Trav doesn't have any surviving grandparents anymore) but because of his own father's reaction as he noted below in his own blog:

My grandfather's death led to something I never expected to see in my life. When my dad called yesterday to tell me, he managed to get out "Your grandfather has died," followed by "Hold on." The phone went quiet for a few seconds, and I thought he was talking to someone else. After this happened again, I realized that he was unable to talk because he was crying. My dad, crying. This is a man who, during my whole life, has displayed roughly two emotions. His usual state of being is very normal. No great swings of emotion, with extremes at "mild annoyance" all the way up to "general happiness" or "occasional excitement." The only extreme emotion I'd ever seen from him was anger, and that was rare. It usually happened when he was driving and someone in another car did something really stupid/dangerous, or when arguing with my mom before (and sometimes after) they got divorced. Even when his mom died, I don't remember anything other than matter-of-factness. So to witness my dad unable to have a conversation because he was crying... Actually, it was a relief. It sucks that it took the death of his father to make it happen, but I now have definitive proof that my dad isn't a robot. That's comforting.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Joshua Bell

I wonder if Joshua Bell's parents thought about his name much when he was born. It's so easy to say, easy to remember, looks good in print, etc. I know Maria Carey's mother picked her name so she'd have a starlette sounding moniker, but I digress...I wonder if his momma had even the faintest notion that her son would be a violin virtuoso back in 1967 when she gave birth to him. I mean, I'm sure his parents have musical aptitude, but they were both psychologists living in Indiana. Yo-Yo Ma, by contrast, was born from a composer/conductor dad and opera singer mom. Did his parents look at each other and go:
"hot damn, we've got *great* genes...let's procreate and make ourselves an ubermensch"
Who knows? But, it's not difficult for me to blurb out, fluke or not, the world is very lucky to have such a beautiful individual.

On a different note, look at his freaking form at age 5. My bow arm was way worse at the age of 20...

I can easily say the concert I attended this past Sunday at Bass Concert Hall with Joshua Bell performing the Beethoven Violin Concerto in D was the best ever. Yes, dear readers, even better than all the Nine Inch Nails concerts I've attended in the past put together.

I said this in my music blog but I was really struck by his stage presence. It's isn't piercing like Midori's, but rather (and someone is going to shoot me for saying this) emotive. He sways to the music with his eyes closed, completely shutting out the audience and yet when he performs, every audience member is completely drawn in. I've never really experienced a musician who was able to connect with his audience without ever looking *at* the audience. That's how amazing his playing is.

On a more vapid note, good God, he's beautiful! He's only a couple of years younger than Trent (what is with all those fillings?) And since about age 16, Josh has pretty much remained the same looks wise. Cute. Mom went to the concert with me, and boy did she hog the binoculars. By the end of the show, she was able to report the thread count of his dark blue button up shirt. I kid, of course, but only just a little.

Joshua Bell live with ASO at Bass Concert Hall September 3rd Austin, TX

Thare are a few cherished moments in my life when I can say I've experienced true unfeigned beauty and experiencing Joshua Bell live for the first time ever is definitely one of them. This past Sunday, September 3rd, Bell performed the Beethoven Violin Concerto in D maj., Op. 61 with the Austin Symphony Orchestra. If you are unfamiliar with who Joshua Bell is, one can easily sum him up as a violin virtuoso and yet I feel that title falls short. Hearing Joshua Bell play his nearly 300 year old Strad on a CD doesn't even remotely compare to hearing it live--I don't care how great the stereo sound system is. With that said, I have a feeling that he could easily make a beat up instrument missing half its strings purchased from a pawn shop sound beautiful which is why I think virtuoso doesn't cut it since that word really only covers technical agility which Bell definitely has and then some.

Bell is one of the most expressive musicians in the world. Not only can you hear the passion in his playing, but to actually see him on stage exuding all this emotion is almost otherworldly. Right as Maestro Peter Bay cued the first down beat, Bell closed his eyes and began to sway side to side with the opening notes of movement one. He's performing completely for himself and one gets the notion that every molecule in his body senses the music. And yet, because of his intensity, you're completely drawn in as an audience member, easily connecting to him. "He's breathing to the beat!" my mother turned to me and whispered in my ear at one point after unabashedly gazing through binoculars (I guess I'll state the obvious....Joshua Bell is absolutely beautiful physically as well. For you insane fans out there, he was a wearing a dark cobalt blue button up shirt, black slacks and shiny well-polished black shoes...)

His interpretation of Beethoven's Violin Concerto was wonderfully tasteful and devoid of any of the unnecessary aggression I tend to hear from other performers. Just like his public persona, his playing style is very unpretentious and pure. You could really hear his impeccable intonation, lovely phrasing and clean technique. The cadenzas, written by Bell himself, were breathtaking and rendered with a keen balance of technical virtuosity and mature phrasing in mind. All of it sounded sweet and effortless. I should note that I am not a huge fan of the Violin Concerto in D merely because I have heard it too many times (think Fantasia and trippy dancing hippos) and can practically recite it note for note in my head.

My most favorite part of the concert was when he came out and performed a passage completely solo from the movie soundtrack Red Violin. Upon finishing, many individuals gasped (including me) and then audience members were quickly up on their feet shouting "bravo" and filling Bass Concert Hall with thunderous applause.

Best concert ever.

Unfortunately, the published studio recording of this piece linked below falls very short in comparison to what was presented at the concert. However, due to the original cadenza's I still highly recommend purchasing the CD.

Listen to:
"Cadenza from Beethoven Violin Concerto in D Op. 61 mvt. 3"(clip)

Joshua Bell's Official Website
Buy Joshua Bell- Violin Concertos: Mendelssohn and Beethoven from Amazon
Purchase Newest release, Voice of the Violin

His newest release Voice of the Violin was released today and features ones of my favorite songs of all time "Laudate Dominum" from the Vesperae solennes de confessore for soloists, chorus & orchestra, K. 339 by Mozart. I'm not too keen on the CD art though...for God's sake, wrinkles are normal for a 40 year old!