Sigur Rós on The Simpson

For all you Iceland-o-philes out there (and of our ranks I know there are many), Sigur Rós is going to be on The Simpsons on May 19th, and have written their own version of the theme song for the episode. I. AM. SWOONING. And their cartoon doppelgangers are pretty amazing.

Sigur Rós in Simpson form
Jónsi looks adorable here.

I’ve seen Sigur Rós live 3 times, and they are one of the most magical and engaging bands I have ever seen. The first time I saw them was October 3rd 2001, less than a month after 9/11 and at a time when Americans were still heartbroken and lost (before we became the stormtroopers of doom, that is). Even though the show was in a tiny, dingy little venue, the show was so uplifting, intoxicating, and lush, it was like being in the presence of elves- and I don’t say that lightly or flippantly. I love the fact that they are willing to show their more humorous side, seeing as I found a lot of their more recent stuff a bit pretentious (I couldn’t tell if the short film project they just did was supposed to be arty or absurd. Maybe both. Meh.)

Bald wird der dunkle Hain belebt

In the immortal words of John Lennon, life is what happens when you are busy making other plans. In my world, multiple sclerosis is what happens. I have been fighting some pretty gnarly symptoms as of late. aside from having a black spot in my vision in my left eye, I am also having significant weakness in my arms that is really fucking with my feng shui. Toss in a liberal dose of fatigue and a dash of leg pain, and you have a satanic salad of gloom. I have had to prioritize things, and life only gets more complicated. We just found out our landlords might want to sell our house, so we may be looking at having to move, which is NOT something I want to do. I am still redecorating my Paramour’s new house, I am still planning our trip to France in a month, WMFH has decided that German this quarter should be more like boot camp, and I am taking a singing class that I SO TOTALLY REGRET TAKING because I have to sing in front of the whole class (I am singing “Bald wehen uns des Frühlings Lüfte” by Haydn. WMFH was kind enough to sit with me and help me understand the lyrics and pronunciation. He was adorably excited to find the lyrics were rather Pagan in nature. The man is a complete sweetheart, and my heart breaks to think this is my last quarter of German). I am not a good singer. I am a loud singer, I am a powerful singer, but it is not pretty. Sigh. I guess the only thing to do is dive in, shame myself, and get it over with.

On the spiritual front, I have had so many things to write about I haven’t even known where to start. Co-priest and I spent Ostara with the Cascadia Protogrove in Seattle. They couldn’t have been lovelier if they tried, seriously a terrific bunch of people and very gracious. We are talking about inviting them up to the island for a ritual at some point, but as it stands right now, Co-priest is going to Trout Lake Abbey for Beltane, and as much as I would LOVE to go, right now I just can’t physically do it. Instead, I am staying home and doing my first solitary High Day ritual. I am a little worried about our Midsummer ritual, since we will all be in France until June 3rd. I really want to make it something special, but I am so bogged down with school and extra projects and travel.

My ADF reading? Nonexistent the last few weeks. I did appropriate my husband’s Nook eReader (gods I hate those things) to take with me to France. It makes reading all the out of print and PDF stuff that much easier. My meditation and daily devotionals are a complete scattered mess right now. I am trying to prioritize orthodoxy vs orthopraxy (which is a post I am STILL working on) and decide if it is more important I light the candles and offer the wine when I am physically taxed or more important that I do something purposeful with my time that I consider to be an act in service to the gods. If I approach preparing a meal for others in the spirit of hospitality, or infuse my academic studies with my spiritual goals, is that not more important? Reconstructionism isn’t just a belief, it is a way of life. While I feel like a bit of a failure for not having the stamina to do everything, maybe focusing on the things I can manifest in the real world are more important.

“Bald wehen uns des Frühlings Lüfte” (it’s the first song in this mix)

Beethoven and Bauhaus

Thursday night was the symphony, which was just wonderful. It opened with Mozart’s overture from Don Giovanni. Not my favorite piece in his repertoire, but lovely and well executed. Next was Benjamin Britten’s Cello Symphony. Bleah. Not a fan. I have a few pieces by him, he’s always been extremely hit and miss for me, and almost always a miss. It’s just noodling to me, and I hate noodling. Virtuosity for its own sake bores me. The last piece was Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony, which was absolutely transcendent. Best of all, I got to watch my Paramour listen to it, in all his composerly glory. Sigh. Speaking of dashing men, WMFH looked quite handsome and stylish in his vest and pocket watch. It’s always nice to see a man who can rock anachronistic fashion without looking cartoonish. It suits him well. Speaking of anachronisms, I was working a long, black Regency style dress, with my 6ft strand of pearls and a teal blue butterfly wrap. I think I looked pretty fly, however the only photo of me that turned out was taken at the last minute in the ladies room and I looked about as drunk as I was (I had one too many Cosmos with dinner. Oops). I had this fabulous Audrey Hepburn moment as my Paramour escorted me down the long staircase of the concert hall on his arm, both of us giggling and racing to get home and fall into each others arms. Of course, as we were leaving WMFH was asking if I was headed back from the big city to our bucolic neck of the woods (100 miles away), and I had to tell him I was staying at the Paramour’s house. That’s an awkward conversation, seeing as he knows I am married. I don’t want to be TMI, but at the same time I don’t want him thinking I am just randomly stepping out on my husband. I’d rather he thought I was a slut than bad wife. I am trying to figure out how I could casually explain the situation to him without it getting weird. Not that ultimately I owe him an explanation.
Me at the Symphony
Because nothing says “classy” like a drunken self-portrait taken in the Benaroya Hall ladies room during intermission. And, yes, I am standing up, not using the facilities.

Paramour at the symphony
I was teasing him about being my cicisbeo.

I spent the next day drunk from noon on, because he’s a bad influence and we are like a middle-aged Sid and Nancy. Cruising around Seattle with my Paramour, listening to 80s dance and goth music at top volume, and shopping for used books and records was the most fun I have had in years. It was one of those “born-again teenager” moments that is a bittersweet mixture of nostalgic and pathetic you only have when you are in your 40s. It was a sunny Friday afternoon, we had Siouxie and Ultravox on the radio, we had nowhere to go but where the wind carried us, we were in a state of obsessive infatuation, and we had the big city at our disposal for the rest of the day. We ended up later that night, drunk on the pier, waiting for the ferry, doing impersonations of Paul Lynde, singing New Order songs at the top of our lungs and waxing poetic about how young, goth, and beautiful we once were whilst intermittently manhandling each other in a fit of uncontrolled passion. Publicly not my best moment, but we were having a blast, and sometimes you just gotta say “fuck it”. Also, I learned that drinking and shopping don’t mix. I bought a book of post-war German poetry, a German-English dictionary, and for reasons I can’t quite fathom a Lawrence Welk album and an autographed album by Cleo Laine, who, to the best of my knowledge, only existed on The Muppet Show.

All in all, it was a heady, frolicsome, romantic, passionate, decadent, wonderful couple of days. France is not ready for us. School is out for the next week and a half, I need some rest for a few days, then it’s back to blogging etc.

Mozart’s Overture from Don Giovanni

Benjamin Britten’s Cello Symphony

Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony

Cleo Laine – He Was Beautiful (seemed appropriate…)

New Order – Age of Consent (the song we were singing at the pier)

Paul Lynde – The Best of Bewitched

Da Da Da

Last night, the community college I am attending presented an evening of Dadaist, Futurist, and avant garde music, theater, and dance. I am completely in love with where I live, because #1. the local community college presented an evening of Dadaist, Futurist, and avant garde music, theater, and dance for crying out loud. #2. It was sold out. and #3. When WMFH performed John Cage’s ‘ 4’33” ‘ the audience sat with rapt attention and gave him a standing ovation at the end. They also performed “The First Celestial Adventure of Mr. Antipyrine, Fire Extinguisher” by Tristan Tzara, which was surprisingly well executed by the student actors. By far, the highlights of the evening for me (aside from WMFH’s oddly engaging John Cage cover) were the choir performing “Miniwanka” by R. Murray Schafer and the 2 separate interpretations of Paolo Buzzi’s “3nomio Voci Gorgo Distuzione”, which had to be seen to be believed. WMFH also performed György Ligeti’s “Poème symphonique” which involved 100 metronomes. It was impressive, but a little too short. Somebody at the college really knew their stuff, because I am relatively familiar with the Dadaists (less so with the Futurists) and there were obscure pieces that not only had I never heard of, I can’t even find on “teh interwebs” (I have to write a paper on this for class, much research is needed). All in all, it was a rousing success, and the audience was refreshingly receptive to it.

Miniwanka, performed by someone else. I really wish I could find a copy of the graphical sheet music they projected during the performance. It was beautiful.

György Ligeti’s “Poème symphonique”

Music Monday – For the Ladies

Madonna is not a feminist, she is an opportunist. Lady Gaga is not a feminist, although she is closer than Madonna. It isn’t that being pretty or overtly sexual preclude feminism, they just do not automatically make you a feminist icon. In fact, when I was writing this post, I was dismayed to see that many “top 10 feminist musicians” lists included the likes of Britney Spears and Rhianna (RHIANNA??? Since when did sticking with the guy that beat the crap out of you become a feminist act?? We are fucking doomed.) If all you have contributed to culture is grinding your hips and moaning overproduced pop songs you don’t even write yourself, you are a highly paid stripper, not a feminist. You are selling other women down the river for your own profit. I’m not saying that Madonna isn’t a good business woman, I’m not saying her music isn’t fun, I’m not saying she isn’t sexually empowered, I’m just saying that those things are not inherently feminist if the message you are sending is how awesome it is to be a walking vagina with no dignity or hope of aging gracefully.

These are women who speak their minds, aren’t afraid to get ugly, aren’t afraid to get their hands dirty, and aren’t afraid to play rough if you fuck with them.

Diamanda Galas – Double Barrel Prayer

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Music Monday – Pop!

As an antidote for last week’s musical excursion to hell, I think we need a little bit of what my Paramour calls “Unicorns and Muffins”. I am not a total music snob, if it moves me I dig it, I don’t care who it’s by. Here is some of the fluffiest music in my collection.

Outkast – Hey Ya
(How can you hear this and not want to dance? I am using the Charlie Brown video version because I am STACKING TEH HAPPI!)

La Roux – Bulletproof
(This is the perfect “homo a go-go” dance song formula, driving beat, dripping with synths, and a woman singing about how invincible and free she is. Works every time)

Robyn – Call Your Girlfriend
(Oy, Robyn, that haircut and atrocious outfit make you look like a hot mess, but I can’t get this damn song out of my head!)

Foster the People – Helena Beat
(OMG this is so wrong, but I hear this thing in my sleep. The “Road Warrior-esque” video is completely baffling, but the jump-kick nutshot did elicit a Beavis and Butthead chuckle from me)

Music Monday – Transgression, or Something to Offend Everyone

WARNING: THIS STUFF IS NSFW, NC-17, AND WILL PROBABLY OFFEND EVERYONE. IF YOU HAVE ANY PERSONAL ISSUES WITH LYRICS THAT PORTRAY ARTISTIC AND CONTROVERSIAL IMAGES OF VIOLENCE OR RAPE, TURN BACK NOW. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED. DON’T COME WHINING TO ME LATER.

Ah, the little goth chick in me still likes to be shocked and titillated. In case you hadn’t noticed, I am a rather staunch Transgressionist. For most of my life, this has been more than just an aesthetic, it has been a lifestyle. The transformation of the flesh into a living manifesto and commentary on the repressive moral stranglehold of our society has been my raison d’être since I was old enough to wield a razor blade. That, I am just generally a big, ol’ degenerate. Granted, others have been far more extreme, but then again I managed to live long enough to see the far side of 40. As I have aged, I have certainly mellowed. I still enjoy my deviance and shock culture, but gone are the days of listening to extreme avantgarde noise music while reading “Les 120 journées de Sodome” before running off to work as a professional bondage slave or to see someone mutilate themselves onstage at some random performance art piece. I will never forget the moment I realized I might have become too jaded. It was the New Years Eve we spent with Aesthetic Meat Foundation. As I watched a woman bound on a piano being sexually violated with a raw calf’s liver to the blare of industrial music and some vaguely Eastern European guy yelling about how “meat is life” into a bullhorn, I turned to my friend and said, “You wanna go to Canter’s after this?”. He shrugged and said, “Sure”. When shit like that makes you crave pastrami, it’s time to reassess your life.

Here are some of my favorite songs from my youth. If you are the sort of person who likes Marilyn Manson… go back to fucking kindergarten, this shit is for grownups.

Crass – Reality Asylum (1979)

Yeah, it gets worse from here…
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Happy Things

German/Music Appreciation teacher/WMFH not only read Hildegard von Bingen’s description of the female orgasm in MA class today (pertinently, I might add), he described the Pagan ambiguities in her music with great knowledge, passion, and fervor. Two words: MY HERO.

It’s so refreshing to have a teacher who gets it. Dude may not be a Pagan, but he sure as hell thinks like one.

Between that, and the lovely conversation I just had with my Paramour, it just makes me feel like crawling all over someone like a baby panda.

Music Monday – Weird and Wonderful

I love quirky, goofy people. People who aren’t afraid to make a complete jackass out of themselves to accomplish their vision. This post is dedicated to some of my favorite weirdos.

Tiny Tim – Living in the Sunlight (This is what it is like inside my head)

The Residents – Semolina (this song has a very twisted memory associated with it involving tequila, a handful of Valium, and a friends living room floor… those were the days)

Crispin Glover serenades a rat with “Ben” (I had a huge crush on the original Willard when I was a kid, and I also used to raise rats)

Nurse With Wound – Cooloorta Moon (if you ever want those last few party guests to leave, play this on a loop. That slide whistle get’s them every time.)

Music Monday – Classical Music

I love classical music, but I am woefully ignorant of it (hence Herr WMFH’s Music Appreciation class. Hey, it isn’t all about me being a man crazy nympho!) I am one of those hunt and peck classical fans. I listen to things I like, follow the recommendations on eMusic (I hate iTunes, they are overpriced and draconian in their restrictions), and generally just try to find things that work for me. I used to buy albums (that’s vinyl LPs, kiddies) at used record stores just to try things out. I have no idea if what I am listening to is considered “good”, I just know I like it. I tend to like Beethoven for symphonies and Wagner for opera. Chopin gives me serious girl wood. Literally, listening to Chopin physically turns me on, I’m not kidding. I recently discovered Faure’s Requiem and fell in love with his shimmering, icy, angelic beauty. I have a total crush on Gustav Mahler, his music has this brilliant awkwardness to it, as if he’s a brooding teenager who desperately wants to say something profound but it never comes out right. And people can smack talk Sarah Brightman all they want, she has an incredible voice and flexibility, I don’t care if she was a disco biscuit in her day.
After memorizing (and now being able to recite from memory, thank you very much) “Der Erlkönig”, my next German conquest is learning to sing “Ode an die Freude” from Beethoven’s 9th. Unfortunately, because I was always stuck in the 1st tenor section in choir that’s all I can manage to sing in a choral situation (I’m actually a Dramatic Mezzo Soprano, but I project best in my lower register. When I was singing daily my voice was like a weapon: strong, loud and powerful. Sadly, I am completely tone deaf and lack the precision to actually do anything with it. In other words, I’m a total Ethel Merman).

Most Played Classical Tracks This Week
Tristan & Isolde: Isoldes Liebestod – Richard Wagner
A Village Romeo and Juliet: The Walk to the Paradise Garden – Frederick Delius
Lohengrin Prelude to Act III – Royal Philharmonic/Richard Wagner
Polonaise No. 6 in A flat major, Op. 53, “Heroic” – Chopin
The Flower Duet (Lakmé) – Leo Delibe
Lieder eines fahrenden Gesellen: Ging heut morgen übers Feld – Gustav Mahler
3 Gymnopedies: 1ere Gymnopedie. Lent et douloureux – Erik Satie
Messe Basse – Kyrie eleison – Gabriel Fauré
Berceuse in D flat major, Op. 57 – Chopin
Hungarian Dances, WoO 1: No. 1 – Johannes Brahms
O Mio Babbino Caro – Maria Callas/Puccini
Finlandia: Op. 26 – Jean Sibelius
9th Symphony (Choral) – Ludwig van Beethoven

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