Tuesday, June 30, 2009

i didn't even know you

Do you ever think about people in your life and think, I didn't even know you and yet we were so close! I was thinking about my old DC roommate from back when I was a summer intern. She and I did a lot of fun things together but I can't even remember her last name (therefore, I cannot find her on facebook). I do remember that I called her boyfriend "MooCow" because whenever he'd come online on her AIM, the alert sound was of a cow mooing.

Or my friend Eunice. I was one of her bridesmaids for goodness' sake and now I have no idea what she is doing ... I don't even know where she works or lives!

Or I think about the X and how I spent a whole two years investing all this time and energy into getting to know him and yet when I think about him today, I am utterly mystified.

And then I look at people in my life now and wonder, will you be a stranger to me one day? Scary thought.

Monday, June 29, 2009

boston wedding

Chris and I went to a wedding in Boston this weekend, it was so much fun! I've never been to Boston before so I was pretty excited. It's a great town!

A couple of highlights: taking a short plane ride (usually mine are like 6 hours long since I'm bi-coastal, so to take a 1.5 hour flight was really nice!); staying at a nice, air-conditioned hotel after being depressed about not being able to find a nice apartment in my price range; seeing a giant, 75-year-old sea turtle at the new england aquarium; going to the JFK presidential library; dancing the night away with Chris (best dance partner ever!); and seeing two people make a covenant with one another to cherish each other for the rest of their lives ... such a sacred commitment! It was really beautiful.

I took some video clips so hopefully, if I get my act together, a boston video will come soon.

For now, here's a pic I took with my cell phone of Chris and me at the wedding:

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

statue of liberty

chris and I went to the statue of liberty over memorial day weekend! I made a video with the clips I filmed using my little flipcam. Enjoy!

Monday, June 8, 2009

welcome wagon worship

About a month ago, I had the pleasure of meeting Rev. Vito Aiuto one early Saturday morning at his church, Resurrection Presbyterian Church in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. As half of the husband-and-wife musical duo, The Welcome Wagon, Vito seemed a little out of sorts as he prepared to sing a song for me and my little video camera.

“I usually don’t do this without my wife,” he said. Despite his nerves, the solo performance turned out great, as you can see in the video below. But I did find myself thinking, Sure this guy can sing, but is he for real? Is he really a pastor or is that just a means to a charming super-hero tag line (Reverend by day, indie folk musician by night).

Over the course of the interview, I discovered that the Aiutos’ faith and devotion to serving God and others through their ministry in Williamsburg is very real, and is, in fact, the inspiration for creating music at all, as Vito explains in the interview:

I really didn’t grow up with the Christian faith being an active part of our home and so I began to have this idea that I wanted it to be a part of our home and one of those ways would be singing. Neither my wife or I played an instrument at that time and so I started to learn how to play the guitar a little bit, and over years of banging out rudimentary hymns and gospel songs, some friends enabled us to record some songs.

But it all began as a way just for Monique and I to sing to God, and to sing to each other.

I think their reason for making music is so refreshing in its honesty. I grew up around a lot of people who wanted to make music for every reason but to worship God, even though a lot of them wanted to be "worship leaders." Here are two people who just genuinely love singing to Jesus. Nothing wrong with that.

Also, this album was produced by Sufjan Stevens! Major plus! People make fun of my devotion to Sufjan Stevens ... well, fine so I'm a huge fan. So sue me! There's nothing wrong with a little fanaticism for a man who weighs 135 pounds and wears butterfly wings while he performs on a banjo. His music is the bomb, OK? You might remember "Vito's Ordination Song" from Sufjan's album, Greetings from Michigan. That was written for Vito when he was ordained. As I told a friend, meeting Vito was like meeting a character out of your favorite novel at Starbucks for a latte. Hello Anne of Green Gables. Hello Vito.
It was wild!

Please watch my video interview with The Welcome Wagon :)

Sunday, June 7, 2009

the brothers bloom

Last night, Christopher, his brother Cliff, and I all went to see the film, The Brothers Bloom. I went in not knowing much; I came out delighted! If you feel like watching a funny, at times serious, fantastical movie about two brothers who love and hate each other through a lifetime of heists and swindles, you should definitely check this movie out. Also, the costumes are great fun. Why don't men wear hats any more?

Rinko Kikuchi was also in the film and she was HILARIOUS and wonderful. But I did find myself a little bothered. After reading a little bit about Asian American heritage month (it was May, did you commemorate it in any way? Yeah, neither did I), and watching a documentary on Asian American's in film and television, I found myself wondering what she was representing through her character-a mostly silent guns and explosives expert, who at one point is singing bad karaoke in a Tokyo bar. To a certain extent though I felt like her performance was a parody of all that is expected of the stereotypical asian character in a heist film. Maybe a good performance, above all, is most important as long as it doesn't go unnoticed. Anyway ... watch the movie! Let's talk about it!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

where is power?

Troops had already opened fire on an ambulance that had tried to collect the injured, so other ambulances kept their distance. Finally, some unlikely saviors emerged — the rickshaw drivers.

These were peasants and workers who made a living pedaling bicycle rickshaws, carrying passengers or freight around Beijing. It was those rickshaw drivers who slowly pedaled out toward the troops to collect the bodies of the dead and injured. Then they raced back to us, legs straining furiously, rushing toward the nearest hospital.

One stocky rickshaw driver had tears streaming down his cheeks as he drove past me to display a badly wounded student so that I could photograph or recount the incident. That driver perhaps couldn’t have defined democracy, but he had risked his life to try to advance it.

That was happening all over Beijing. On the old airport road that same night, truckloads of troops were entering the city from the east. A middle-aged bus driver saw them and quickly blocked the road with his bus.

Move aside, the troops shouted.

I won’t let you attack the students, the bus driver retorted defiantly.

The troops pointed their guns at the bus driver and ordered him to move the bus aside. Instead, he plucked the keys from the ignition and hurled them into the bushes beside the road to ensure that no one could drive that bus away. The man was arrested; I don’t know what happened to him.

Nicholas Kristof, Bullets Over Beijing

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

grizzly bear

I went to my first 9:30 Club concert on Monday night. I was thrilled to finally go to a concert there after having listened to way too many live concerts via NPR from the 9:30 club. I was even happier knowing I was going to see Grizzly Bear, a phenomenal quartet of musical geniuses. The show was off the chain!!!!

The most exciting thing about Grizzly Bear is that they all sing to produce the most stunning four-part harmonies. As a former choir geek, I really really appreciate this about their music. Also, one band member, Chris Taylor, can sing like a boy soprano, play the flute, guitar, clarinet, and manipulate pedals like a wizard! Here's an awesome shot of him from the concert, via washingtonpost.

(Chris Taylor from Grizzly Bear)

Doesn't he look like an ethereal pirate rockstar? Omg ... I am in love. If you haven't heard Grizzly Bear yet, I highly highly recommend you check them out. Here's their hit song, Two Weeks, off their second album Veckatimest. The video is wild!