Why Mashups Work

It surprises even me how often mashups work musically.  I’m pretty sure this is a result of popular music following a few very basic chord progressions:  1, 4, 5, 4;  1, 6, 4, 5; etc…

Because I’m the type of person who randomly applies science to my art projects I’ve been toying with the idea of creating a huge spreadsheethat charts the chord progressions of all othe current pop songs, classic tunes, and my personal favorites. Then I should be able to sort the list and have like with like:giving myself a short list of songs to consider?

Only problem is this might be more work than just listening carefully and letting that sort happen in your brain…

Touch at a Distance

I’m listening to Radio Lab while at work and they are conducting sort of a meta show where they discuss how they use sound and music in their editing process. For a long time I have been fascinated by this broadcast because of their savvy, imaginative productions. Jad is interview one of his personal heroes, Walter Merch, who edited such films as the Godfather, cold mountain, etc. Mr. Merch explained that the oldest senses creatures have according to the evolutionary progress is Touch, or smell. Hearing, by contrast is the last sense to truly develop. because what is hearing but an extremely sophisticated sense of touch at a distance?

Interestingly, the sense of hearing is the first sense to develop in unborn children during gestation. With the barrier of the mother’s body the child cannot see, touch, smell or taste the outside world… but they can hear it. Hearing is the only sense that travels through matter.

There needs to be a new word to describe the type of joy I feel when I learn about the world from programs like this. It’s fascination at the topic. It’s inspiration derived from the skill of the teachers. It’s hopeful. It’s joy. — j

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:

I’m Coining the Term “Discoverability Tide”

I am currently working with the New York School of Interior Design to help them develop a new social media strategy.  The school is looking to use facebook, twitter and the other big networks to better engage current students, prospective students, Alumni, and potential donors.

After working with their Communications Director for a period of time I am now charged with creating some sort of document, slideshow or video to convince the rest of the staff and board that we really should be spending work time using the facebook.

I’ve become totally fascinated by social media in the last few years mostly because I see it changing the system of communication. Anytime systems change I get excited.

Yesterday at work I got caught in a long conversation with my colleague about about how the “discoverability tide” is shifting on the internet. It used to be that companies would make themselves a findable website in hopes that interested consumers would visit that website.  Now, thanks to these social networks everyone “has a website,” and we are discoverable to these companies.  Which works well for them because they will put the work in to finding new customers.

They also can better retain customers. If I visit a standard company website, I might never go back again. But if I end up on a fan page and decide to “like” Skittles… well then Skittles can reach out to me as often as they want (everyday)  and I will see it as often as i go on the facebook (also everyday).  They’ve got me everyday now all because I said yes once. A pretty sweet treat for Skittles.

I guess I like scheming, because I’m excited by the strategy involved in all of this.  I also like “plastic” words or expressions that have been invented in the past 2 years.  I just run a google search for “discoverability tide” and I am pleased to announce that there are no results if you search with quotes.  I guess I’ve invented a term.

Is it Cheating to Wait Until You Win and Then Quit?

Tonight my two good friends and I watched the Joan Rivers documentary “A Piece of Work.”  I actually loved it.  I thought that the filming was artful and that her life is completely fascinating.  The most interesting aspect is that the documentary chronicles a relatively low point in her career when she’s faced with long stretches without bookings.  She and her staff search relentlessly for comedy clubs, casinos, cruises and other venues for her to get some facetime and money. In one of the scenes where the team laughs off disappointment my good friend Erin said that she would be Joan Rivers’ assistant. She thought it would be fun.

I don’t think I would want to be somebody’s personal assistant. I’m thinking of people who I idolize or respect deeply, and while I like them, I still don’t think I would want to be a PA.  It’s not that I can’t handle the PA tasks like making phone calls or picking up dry cleaning.  I’ve worked in some jobs that suck and sometimes you do mundane things for your paycheck.  The biggest trouble for me would be watching somebody else do what I wish I could do every day (even if I respect the person).  I can be be a bit jealous. I think it would get the best of me eventually. I think I would start to resent the situation.

I want to always make sure that I am the person Doing.  I don’t even mean Leading, Governing or Starring.  I just mean Doing.  I want the chance to leave my unique mark instead of assisting somebody else  to leave theirs.  With the words of Sister Acts‘ Sister Mary Roberts I ask: “Does that sound like sin to you?  like pride?”

Joan Rivers is proud.  This entire documentary is about how she won’t yeild the spotlight without a fight even after 45 years of work, plenty of money, and the label of Comedy Icon. I want to be hot shit, but I expect that someday I’ll give it a rest.  Ideally I would make some art, make some comfortable money, make some connections, have some great experiences and once I’ve had my fill I will sit at home, eat all day and watch Jeopardy.  I would like to make my mark to show that I can and then immediately embrace some sort of earned rest.  I also want Jeopardy seasons on DVD.

So.  I should probably go to bed so in the  morning I can wake up and conquer the world. Then as soon as I’ve conquered it I’ll give it back and lead a quiet life.   Watch the Doc. It’s good work.

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…


Seeing Females for the First Time

At my job I spend a lot of time flipping through plays from the past 100 years. And seriously, many of them are actually from the 1920s-60s.  Recently I was preparing an old play titled Backwoods Romeo for reprint when I got caught reading the description.

The basic story is that Romeo has lived in the woods with his grandfather for his first 21 years of life.  The entire time there have been no women.  He has never seen a girl ever. not once. Then, for some reason our backwoods protag goes to town and is surrounded by women for the first time.  I have not yet read the play, but I assume he goes on some sort of spree- that would make good theatre, right?

But of course, this also started me wondering what would happen in reality if someone had no exposure to attractive people during their formative years. Would their sexuality change at all?

I am inclined to believe that you may end up sort of asexual if you grow up without the proper dosages of girl (or boy) in your teenage years. Imagine being 21 and seeing an attractive person for the first time.  Do yo know what to do with them?  Do you have any desire to do anything? Even kissing- I wonder if it is a learned desire, instead of innate desire.

I’ll say that I think it matters hugely whether you know that women exist at all, even if you aren’t hanging out with them.  If grandpa told Romeo that there were these amazing creatures called girls and they were like people, but slightly different, and that you are supposed to be attracted to them– then I think Romeo may be better adjusted when he finally goes to town.

If you did Not know that women existed, I don’t  think you could be attracted to them, because you wouldn’t know what was going on.  They might even scare you.  For fun I just googled “scary women” – it was all bodybuilders…

I do Not expect that people would become gay from lack of girls.  But then, I don’t often like anything that supposes homosexuality can be induced since I think that mode of thinking makes the community vulnerable. I mostly just think that the young man is going to be really frustrated for a while,  and he may develop some strange habits to cope.  There’s that whole thing about farm boys and animals, but I may just ignore that instead of unpacking it’s causation.

It’s a Nature/Nurture argument for sure, and I think I’m going to come down on the side of Nurture.  No Sex symbols until the age of 21? You might be irreversibly screwed up.

Posted in Sex.

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. 🙂