Icy Gays and Super Powers

This Sunday Justin and I actually canceled plans to watch our DVR’d Doctor Who episode and instead accepted an invitation to watch the VMAs with a group of gays down the block. I have loved music award shows for many years after I realized that I almost always have a stake (that is to say favorites) for this type of award show, compared to the Academy Awards or the Emmys (where I usually have seen nothing).

The other reason we were excited about this invitation is that the party was in the super-fancy building on the corner of our block- luxury living for sure, and we wanted to get a peek at that! 🙂

It was a very beautiful apartment, and a very beautiful group. Everyone was young, toned, fashionable. Probably all of them were younger than me. They were not, however, outgoing. When we walked in one of the pretty guys who we knew best came over and hugged us, but the other 8 people in the room stayed firmly planted in their seats and merely glanced at us before directing their attention back to an announcer who I didn’t recognize on the screen.

We floated toward the TV and after a few moments when two got up to get more drinks I made the first step and introduced myself. Conversation didn’t really flow from there.

After settling into the circle I tried starting some conversation up again. “Hi, I’m Joe” I offered a handshake to one of the guys. “Hi” is all I got back. I decided that I was definitely going to make each of them shake my hand. “What’s ~your~ name?” I pressed with what I hoped sounded like super-friendly interest, but it kind of sounded like I was 1st grade teacher.

After each of them accepted my introduction- including one wearing a black caftan, which he described as “just something simple” when I asked about his outfit- we returned to watching the show.  There were general exclamations of “yas, gurl!” and “get it!”, everyone was making A Lot of noise, but I still felt like nobody was getting to know each other. This went on for about 15 minutes.

Now I’m am fresh off a trip to Provincetown where the week’s theme was Comic Books, so I’ve had 7 recent days of super heroes wandering around drunk and making jokes. Perhaps the most perfect, true joke I heard the entire week was someone saying that their super-power was breaking the ice. And even now when I think about that (pickup) line, I laugh because actually Ice-breaking is a great super power!

So I pressed on, asking each boy about themselves, remarking about the performances. It took a lot of work but I think I was slowly melting down these icy guys into conversation.  But it wasn’t until I pulled out the mother of all music conversation bombs (Ariana Grande as the next Mariah Carey?) that I truly got big full responses from the group. There was discussion, and argument, and sharing, and reminiscing, and everyone just ended up talking about how Mariah Carey is one of a kind. It was everything that I needed. So thank you Mariah, a hero does lie in you, and your power in any gay group is breaking the ice.




Work n’ Blow

When I mashup songs I usually go for two (or three!) songs that everyone will know.  Literally I look at the iTunes top seller list and pull the songs right from the pop chart to my computer.   However, recently I found myself getting a little more attention by putting some more home-grown, local appeal into my tracks.

Justin and I have a friend named geO Louis who is an up-and-coming pop star.  He’s got a smoking body and a new single titled Work that is available for purchase at iTunes.  Instead of mashing up Britney, or some other pop icon who will never hear my mashup, I used his new single to great success.

He loved it, people who know us mutually loved it, and I loved it… because he promoted it everywhere!  I think that this may be a new approach for me: taking on the music of people who are still looking for exposure and developing a mutually beneficial relationship.  Here’s the track!:

JoeRedHead Logo

Momma’s Hip Hop Kitchen

Yesterday afternoon I got an urgent text from my dear friend Erin telling me to come up to the Bronx and watch a show that she was stage managing.  “Get here Now” was the message.   The show was called Momma’s Hip Hop Kitchen, so I was obviously interested right off the bat (this is how well my friends know me). Now in it’s third installment at Hostos Community College in the Bronx, MHHK is a spirited and eclectic showcase of Women in Hip-hop. 2+ hours of dance, song and spoken word for the advancement of women.

Of course I loved it. But beyond the obvious attraction between gay men and women of color, it was nice to be at something so…  positive and relaxed. The whole thing was very welcoming, especially for spoken word, which has to be the most exposed art form ever. there’s nothing but you and your thoughts. Standing in the wings of the show (I watched from backstage) I realized just how much I love spoken word.  It’s such a  fun intersection of rhythm and rhyme and wordplay.

There was young girl who performed yesterday afternoon who couldn’t have been older than 21 and she was brilliant.  As I watched I was thinking to myself – Why don’t I try this sometime?  I’m in NY city, why don’t I go find some slam poetry club and give this a shot? I might not even tell my friends and boyfriend that I’m doing it.  The anonymity would be nice.

I don’t have very many experiences with spoken word, sadly.  When I was in college there was a guy who was around the theatre department who wrote amazing spoken word pieces and I remember him bringing one into an acting class one day to workshop in front of the class. Our teacher at the time gave him some direction, good direction… but maybe not right for spoken word.  Because it’s not a monologue.  And he clearly wanted to do perform it in that very fascinating pattern and rhythm – the same rhythm that intimidated ME when I thought about writing my own pieces.

I guess for now this will hang out on the “someday list” after aerial silk dancing, but hopefully I can go and watch some more spoken word soon. Here’s the trailer for Momma’s Hip-Hop Kitchen:

Here’s a better Mashup

If you are even reading this you know that I am in the midst of a developing obsession.  This is the second mashup that I’ve done now.  I’m really pleased with it actually, but I know that it can be so much better.

In the musical [Title of Show] there’s a line describing that the artist troubled because Shakespeare, Sondheim and Sedaris did it before you and better than you.

Sometimes I experience that.  I love listening to Party Ben, Titus Jones, and Girltalk… but it’s also intimidating, since they all have multiple tracks of Brilliant mashups.

I wonder how new musicians and artists get over that feeling.

Oh well, here’s my second track ever:

My First Ever Mashup!

So after a few months of being obsessed with DJ culture and downloading 4 different software trials I have completed my first ever Mashup!  Bruno Mars Vs. Kylie Minogue Vs. Gnarls Barkley, titled: Can’t Get this Crazy Grenade Outta My Head.  Hope you like it!

I can’t wait to do  more of these.  The only trouble is that the trial has expired and I’ve got to pull together the money to buy the Ableton Live Software…


Search Terms Make Me Laugh

This is basically the first blog I’ve ever had.  I know I am late to the party, but it was something that I wanted to try and I if I’m in the mood it can be a lot of fun.  One thing I wasn’t prepared for, however, was how addictive it is watching your blogs stats.  Worpress (this blog is a wordpress blog, everyone) has some cool analytics software built in to the back end so you can see how many people came to your site, where they came from, what they clicked on, etc.  Most of my traffic comes directly from Facebook when I post links there, but there are a handful of views each day come from somebody doing a simple google search. Of all the data WordPress gives you, my favorite by far is knowing what search terms somehow landed people here.

I’d like to share some with you.

So this seems like a pretty standard day.  “Sex for Singing” is a little odd, but it makes sense that they would end up here, it has 2 of the 3 title words.  I mostly wonder why it has 4 independent views? did 4 different people google this? if it was just one person, why did they click on my blog 4 times?  You’d think after the first time they would figure out that I’m (probably) not going to hook-up with them no matter how well they sing.

This one is pretty standard. What I realized when I began looking through these is that there are people on the internet that just google Taylor Lautner all day long.  At least this day I also came up in a search including NYC.

Oh Goodness.  I know that “sex” is in the title of the page, but “Hot rough sex” you have come to the wrong place, sorry.
can anyone make sense of “football players downs their short pants”?  at least my friends Jerzy Jung and Christiano Ronaldo made it.

The weird things here are A) the search for “Taylor Laughter” – that made me crack-up.  and B) that I have never in my life blogged about Alan Valdez.  I didn’t even know that was.  just to make sure I wasn’t missing out on anything I googled him myself. … yowza.  I should do a blog or four about this guy:

Mike Fink…. Yes I wrote about my secret crush on a tall tale. I wonder why was he all the rage suddenly on November 2? Meanwhile, Lautner stays in the race.

Seriously, who googles this?  And it was even on 10-10-10.  You should have been out celebrating dude, that only happens once every millenium.  Even the Taylor Lautner people too the day off.

And lastly, today, which seems pretty average up until this one desperate persons cry help (?) at the bottom there.  Luckily I have also blogged about It Gets Better.  Watch a few and know that people out there care.

Anyway.  In general I’m disappointed in what drives people to this blog.  I guess I’m not posting enough intellectual material?  if you’ve got a topic suggestion (about comedy, music, sex or seriously whatever) leave me note and I’ll see if we can make this place more than a stop over for horny Twilight fans.  AND, Thanks very much for being part of my first blog journey, be sure to subscribe if that’s something you do.  Peace out. 🙂

My First DJ Gig Ever.

As I write this I am switching my attention between two different computers and three different tasks.  One task is clearly this blog entry on this computer.  The second object of my focus is next to my computer.  It’s another computer. This one belongs to my friend Austin and I am using it to run Tracktor LE- his DJ software.

I have the digital DJ studio with me so that I can practice for my first ever DJ gig which is…tonight (now that it’s after midnight). Austin promotes a few parties a week with his co-promoter DJ Executive Realness.  This weekend DJ E.R. needed someone to fill in for him and I was asked if I wanted to learn the ropes and spend Friday and Saturday night living my dream.  I said heck yes.

Tomorrow (tonight) is going to be an interesting night.  Right after work I’ll race home and throw on some black clothes and run to the church. Tomorrow is actually the first evening concert of my church choir which I recently joined.  Tomorrow (tonight) we are singing during a 2 hour “Interfaith” Shabbat Service- this is already slightly unexpected since it is a Catholic church to which I belong. Then, I will  run home, remove my “new-york-blacks” and dress myself in skinny jeans and T-shirt that clings to my chest. Then it’s off to the party to spin the night away.

The Party is East of Eden, it’s hosted by 21st Century Life. and it’s at Vig 27 Bar on 27th at Park Ave. South. Here is the promo picture:

One of the most fun things about DJ culture is the part where you get to invent your own identity.  You make up a name for yourself, you dress yourself, you choose your music style.  I like discovering new DJs and seeing their unique style.

SO… what to name me?

A Long time ago I set my heart on DJ RedScare– but just in case I was missing a great opportunity The Boy and I turned to the internet. Of Course I landed at ehow.com!  How could I do anything without these help sites?

Ehow had three steps to deciding on a DJ name. Step one: put the letters D-J  infront of your real name. If you are not satisfied, go on to step two.

Step Two: put the letters in front of your nickname.  At this point the tutorial actually lists DJ Gingersnap as an option for red heads-  Kid, I do not.  I tried thinking back to my mom’s nicknames for me, and while I can sort-of imagine people bustin’ a move to the sweet grooves of DJ Squirrely Toes… it just wasn’t perfect.

The last bit of advice was to try and get creative and spell it with unconventional letters or something like that.  I thought of going simply as “DJoe,” then in a last ditch effort I used a DJ name generator which told me to spin as “DJ Brisk Monkey.”  …It’s going to be RedScare.

Anyway.  The last task I was/am splitting my attention with is boiling pasta… and it’s time to give that all of my attention.  Wish me luck tomorrow (tonight).  Both at the Shabbat Service and the Club.  I love all this different music in my life.

1000 Years of Baggage

I have lived in NY for almost two years now and one of my favorite theatre experiences of ALL TIME has to be the Beowulf Songplay.  They don’t exactly call it a musical, and I agree with the decision not too, but it still has singing and it it is still a foot stompin’, blood-n-guts, good time.

I originally watched this show on the lower east side about a year ago. It was a collaboration of theatre companies Banana Bag and Bodice and the Shotgun Players in the San Francisco Bay Area.  It is now about to play AGAIN at Joe’s Pub TONIGHT (Sept 2) and Saturday (Sept. 4).  If you are free, I’m in strong support of you checking it out.

What pushed this show ahead of everything else for me was the brilliant construction of its story.  When the Play first begins three academics enter the stage and take seats at a panel.  One is a frumpy male professor, one is a sort of new age Feminist, and one is a pantsuit-wearing hair tied back academic bitch (No other way to say it). They are giving a academic lecture on Beowulf brilliantly acted in a stuffy snore-fest manner. but with the help of some microphone feedback and a building drum part the story comes to life behind the panel.  Throughout the night the play jumps back and forth between the panel of storytellers and and the story itself, but the distinction slowly begins blurring.

The play is funny. One liners fly left and right and the mock wrestling ring in the center of the stage comically blends machismo then with a smackdown machismo now. The songs are simple, but include beautiful lyrics such as “this is my body, fight with my body.”

The play is also smart. The most brilliant aspect of the storytelling is that the academics eventually get dragged onstage. who do they play? the monsters.  The frumpy professor is the Grendel, the feminist is the Grendel’s Mother, and the pantsuit-wearing leader of the pack becomes the dragon.

I remember being blown away.  How perfect that academia becomes his enemies.  And in the end they actually kill him.  Maybe this is just a story about penises and swords. Maybe it’s was told only to entertain and to cause visceral reactions of fear and laughter. Maybe we are overstepping our boundaries trying to apply 20th century Freud or modern day philosophy to the heroes of 9th century Scandinavia.

There’s something very human and enjoyable in the shows rough edges. Try to check it out if you can and recommend similar works if you’ve seen them.  Here’s a quick video for the show.

You’re in my Skin like a Rose Tattoo

Hey Everybody, Today I’m going to talk about an artist who I really like and ultimately ask a favor.

He’s one of those guitar artists with songs about wandering and living life and kind of letting what happens happen.  He obviously loves travel and experiencing different places because so much of his music is set in particular cities or places around the US.  That the last time I saw him in concert he actually arranged the song list as a road trip.     It was really cool to have the mid song banter drive you out of Oregon and up the pacific coast and into Alaska, or whatever.

Ellis Paul also had my favorite song of 2009.  He didn’t write it in 2009, but I discovered it in 2009.  The song is called Sweet Mistakes. First Verse and Chorus Below:

Pop the cork, grab a champagne glass,
Raise to the future, drink to the past,
Thank the Lord for the friends he cast
In the play he wrote for you.
and Bless your sweet mistakes,
That crumble you down to your knees,
That brought you to this place,
That changed you by degrees,
When change was just what you needed.

I love this song.  I’m such a sucker for anything with words like: Journey, Community, or Experience.  These are the things that always make me cry in movies. This song especially came in handy on my NY anniversary when I dove headlong into the what-have-I-done-I-moved-to-NY crisis.  I have yet to see these shirts for sale in Times Sq, however.

Recently,  Ellis Paul released a new album (The Day After Everything Changed) and as a kick-off he hosted this online music video contest for people who are fans of his work.  We were to take a song from the new album and film a music video for it.  I have done this. SO… the favor I’m going to ask is for you to watch my video! think of it as a journey.

I don’t think that “views” on youtube is the basis for winning, but it’s got to influence who he picks ultimately, AND there’s this other schmuck with 500  views when I only have 212 so it would be nice to get that number up.  The prize is tickets to the next show and some cash… so I’m invested.  thanks everyone. I won’t do this very often.

The song is called Rose Tattoo– and I’m pleased with how it turned out. The idea was that everyone has had that afternoon where you just wander around a bookstore for a few hours. Let me know what you think. 🙂


Axis of Awesome

For my recent birthday a group of friends teamed up and bought me joy in a box, otherwise called a keyboard. I was ecstatic, but when I sat down to play, MAN was I rusty. I have gone too many years in college and New York City with my old keyboard resting at my parents house far far away. So I’ve been brushing up.

The new addition also means friend Robert and I have no excuse NOT to begin writing our musical.  However, until we all have the skills needed to really move forward with that we have entertained ourselves by playing a lot of Green Day and other bands that have simple, repeating chord progressions.

On that topic, I had a good laugh this week when my friend Syche of the Cameraphone Diaries sent this video my way. These guys are called the Axis of Awesome and they are a musical comedy trio out of  Australia.  In the video they play an oddly hysterical piece called “4 Chord Song”-  it’s GREAT. To pass on Syche’s viewing advice to me: “If you haven’t seen this before, watch it all the way through, it’s worth the 5 1/2 minutes of your life.”