I just sent this review of the 2014 film "Whiplash" to my drummer who hasn't seen it yet:
"19 year old jazz drum prodigy Andrew doesn't realize his life is about to change when he accepts a position in Fletcher's jazz band during his first year at the world's best music conservatory (its a fake school). The introverted boy transforms ala "Black Swan" once he becomes in contact with this bloodthirsty-in-the-name-of-greatness professor (JK Simmons). Oh there's blood all right, and torture, and loads of obsessive psychological damage. Meanwhile, enjoy lots of cool jazz standards like Duke Ellington's "Caravan" and the song "Whiplash" itself. The sticking and hand control of the players are tear-jerking. You'll sob over his ability to smoothly play through rudiments and control the tone and tempos thrown at him (okay, tear up, maybe not sob). He began the film a great player as far as I can see. The ending will fuck you up. Give yourself an hour or two to get over it. If you're feeling vulnerable, give yourself a week. Then it'll make you want to practice."
So just a brief recap of some things from 2014, one of the most challenging and life-changing years I've ever had. Besides my band The Julie Ruin's tours and experiences, which I've documented a-plenty on this blog, and maybe even too much, I've been involved in a few other creative projects, pieces, and pleasantries. I'm really hard on myself, and it never seems like I do enough, so compiling a short list may straighten me out (at least for 15 minutes). I suggest you try it too, if you're one of those people too, and see what you've actually done. Or not....
Bullet Space, East Village art gallery in October 2014. Tina Havelock Stevens is a film, sound, and video artist based in Sydney. Bullet Space premiered her video "White Drummer Detroit" (clip below), where she performs solo improvisation in different spaces and locations.
Here is a clip from MONA FOMA in Tasmania where Tina is being lowered into the ocean continuously playing drums. I've seen clips of the HD video still in the process of being edited, and it is a mix of claustrophobia, muscle pain, a textured sea weed mop, and unquestionably compelling sound design.
We were introduced a few days before getting together at Bullet Space in October from writer Maggie Wrigley (and her book). We improvised with a loop pedal, a board of effects, my guitar, and her drumming. Turned int NOISE instrumental over high end surf loops loud enough to scare a puppy out of the room (I felt so bad about that!). Here we are looking stylin' in front of another artist's light work at Bullet Space.
Can't capture LOUD noise from a picture!
LA, Steve Allen Theater, Catopia! A cat themed charity event that raised money for Grace Animal Rescue in Los Angeles, CA. While on a short west coast tour, I met up with 3 fabulous musicians to form Cat Sabbath, an "all cat tribute band." I played drums for the event, Rebecca Severin played guitar (Frightwig) , Marisa DeMeglio played bass, and singer Aimmee Echo jumped in to save us last minute! We had 2 rehearsals. We dressed like cats. A review said we could "actually play." Wow, we must've looked really rough to get that review, uh....
I wanted Peter Kriss whiskers and didn't have the clothes for the show, so maybe Hello Kitty-Sabbath was my look?
And there's more but instead I'm going to suggest three biographies I read this fall. And a TV show. Since this blog is about women/music/art, lets stick to that theme:
My review doesn't matter. Lets just say 3/4 of it inspired me and 1/4 made me sad. But she has a wonderful way with words. The older stories put into perspective the human side of punk/rock legendary characters that have been so blown out of proportion since. It is a must-read.
"The only reason I'm in fashion is to destroy 'conformity.' Nothing is interesting to me unless its got that element."
I carried this 428 page "weighty tome" on the plane with me and for a short west coast trip because I could not put it down. Yes, I had my cute little NOOK with me, but this IS the new Vivienne Westwood biography. Fashion designer, activist, and historian - with no signs of slowing down in her 70's. My role model. Here's a link to her organization Climate Revolution.
Don't watch the American version, it misses the point completely.
If you love binge watching Netflix and Amazon Prime shows, and have already seen Transparent, Orange is the New Black, The Comeback, and any others in the strong-female-lead-genre, watch this one next.
I'm a guitarist, teacher, musician, & drummer. I play guitar in THE JULIE RUIN. I'm an art history major and actively support the arts. I worked at CBGB's in NYC for 10 long years. This blog is about guitar, girls in rock, drums, art history, illustration, women in history, students, and pedal boards.