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As American as Apple Pie – Grand Rapids LipDub May 28, 2011

Posted by alwaysjan in Food for Thought, Music.
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My husband forwarded to me a link to Indiewire, an independent film site, with the message, “You’ve GOT to watch this!” (Click the Indiewire link to watch the Grand Rapids LipDub.)

After Newsweek listed Grand Rapids, Michigan as one of America’s 10 “Dying Cities,” independent filmmaker Scott Erickson decided to showcase his hometown in a one-take, 10-minute video to the tune of Don McLean’s iconic song American Pie.

When I told my brother, who lives in Michigan, about the video, his initial response was, “It can’t be Grand Rapids-that’s one of our favorite places to go. Are you sure they weren’t talking about Detroit?” He informed me that Grand Rapids is GR to Michiganders.

Maybe it’s because I can vividly recall the dingy bar I was standing in drinking 3.2% beer when I first heard the song American Pie, but I dare say, I got a little misty eyed watching this video.

At a time when funding for the arts is being cut from our schools, I’ve become all the more convinced that it is the arts that elevate our spirits while also bringing people together.

Psst! If it’s been awhile since you’ve heard the song, you, like me, will be trying to decipher the lyrics. But, it’s already been done for you on Understanding American Pie. The site takes you through the song verse by verse. Whoa! I think it gave me flashbacks.

I rate this video GR, for GREAT.  Enjoy!

Hope & Hip Hop October 29, 2008

Posted by alwaysjan in Art, Artists, Music, Politics.
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Our friend, Dina (The Salsa Queen!) forwarded this link on Youtube.  I must confess that my father warned me I should NEVER blog about politics or religion – but this is ART!  MC Yogi grew up in a group home for “at risk youth” and then discovered the transformative power of yoga.  Who would have thunk it?  His music appears on the White Swan label, home to another of my faves, Deva Premal.  Got art?  If you want to see an AWESOME video, click here:  MC Yogi: Obama ’08 Vote for Hope.

My Antony September 30, 2008

Posted by alwaysjan in Artists, Music.
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Antony

Antony of Antony and the Johnsons

We’d Netflixed I’m Your Man, the documentary about singer/songwriter Leonard Cohen. An amazing array of artists performed Cohen’s songs, but one artist stood out – Antony and The Johnsons. He had all the stage presence of Joe Cocker wearing a woman’s jogging suit, but his voice was sublime. Who was this angeI? I immediately Googled him and ordered several CD’s off his website. I found them so haunting, I’ve been playing them ever since.

Although he lives in New York, Antony performs mostly in Europe. So I was ecstatic when my husband called to tell me he’d just heard Antony and The Johnsons were performing at Disney Hall with the LA Philharmonic on Oct. 14th. This is being billed as his only West Coast appearance.

The last time we actually paid to go see a LIVE act was several years ago when we saw Lisa Gerrard from Dead Can Dance at the Wiltern. I’m not big on shelling out big bucks for live shows, but Antony is THE exception. Okay, I admit. I still curse the gods that my friend Martha scored a ticket to see Muse, my second favorite band in the universe.

Antony’s X and Y chromosomes are aligned differently than yours or mine. He’s transgender, but who cares? His voice, a wilting passionate vibrato that alternates with a falsetto, can raise the hairs on your neck.

Antony has a cult following (Rufus Wainwright and Lou Reed perform on his latest album, and he did a cover of John Lennon’s Happy Christmas (War is Over) with Boy George). Now that’s one cult I’m happy to claim membership in! Some of Antony’s songs are painful to listen to, so be forewarned – much of his repertoire is not G-rated, but this song is. To me, he has the voice of an angel.


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