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Category: Music Life

Performance At Bergmannstrassenfest

I performed three songs at Bergmannstrassenfest at the beginning of July. This is the third year in the row that I’ve performed there, but last year it rained (summer in Berlin can equal a bummer in Berlin, though not this year so far, hoorah!) and the year before Germany played a game in the European Cup literally five minutes before I went on, so almost no one was there. Speaking of soccer and being bummed, I was really disappointed to see Belgium kicked out of the World Cup last night. They played with such passion and were my favorite team this…

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Pity Party Take Ten Or Something

Yes, folks, it’s pity party time again. Just got notice that I was not shortlisted for a story competition I really thought I had a good shot at. The magazine sent out the same form letter that I’ve gotten from them before, stating that my piece “really stood out from the rest” and that I’m “obviously a talented writer” and they felt “honored to read my work”, but it was still a pass. The first time I got this letter I felt really encouraged, but this time I realized it’s more likely just they’re “no thanks, but please don’t slit…

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A Musical Biography

If anyone ever spends more than thirty seconds on this blog, they’ll soon discover my two main thangs are writing and music. My reading life has always been eclectic, although these days I’m really digging Kelly Link, Karen Russell and, of course, George Saunders (had a bad bout of insomnia last night and listened to this podcast with him on Think Again at around two in the morning. They have a lot of good interviews podcast thingys on there, so check it out.) I just finished a story I like a lot called “Headless”, a satire on start-up culture complete…

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Ten Songs For The Day

Here are the ten songs I most enjoyed listening to today, and I’m sharing them just because. Enjoy. 🙂  

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Fucking Wagner

The other day I randomly came across this interview with my former voice teacher, Blanche Thebom. It was so strange to hear the voice of someone who had such an impact on my life all these years later. I would have recognized her voice anywhere. A lot of the stuff she mentions in the interview are things she told me when I was in her studio, ableit the nicer, more diplomatic version. I remember her mentioning the excellent musicians who came to the US after the war, but she also blamed the newcomers for ruining voice technique in the country.…

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Kurt Elling in Berlin

The jazz singer Kurt Elling played in Berlin a few nights ago at the relatively small club Quasimodo. I knew about the concert, but wasn’t sure if I wanted to go because it started late and it was way across town, blah blah blah, excuses excuses. Luckily it took place on the same night as my jazz class, otherwise I probably would have been too lazy in the end. I talked one of the other singers into going over there to see if we could get a last minute ticket at the door. We got one of only nine they…

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What I’m listening to today

As I’m sure I’ve mentioned before, I love many different kinds of music, but my heart belongs to jazz. What I love about jazz is that it offers a chance for constant change. You have a tune, but instead of playing it straight like you do in basically any other kind of music, you have the chance to improvise, to reinvent, to listen and react, to stay playful. And jazz can mean so many different things. I just googled types of jazz and was given 44 different subgenres, although I’m sure this is by no means an exhaustive list. This…

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What I’m Listening To Today

Yesterday I had lunch with a friend of my mom’s who came to Berlin for an intensive tango course. Her name is also Rebecca but without an h, and I met her in August when my mom was in town and we hit it off. Today she’s flying back home to the “real” Northern California, as in five hours north of the Bay Area which still insists on calling itself NorCal, because they irrationally hate the folks down south. We ate at my beloved Hallesches Haus which both of us agreed could just as easily be in California, with it’s…

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Albums That Make Me Happy

It’s another, and another day means hours spent in front of the computer doing work I want to do and work I’m getting paid for. Someday, I hope the work I’m getting paid for is also the work I want to do, but in the meantime I’ll keep trucking. And really, I can’t complain. I have a nice life and, when the going gets tough, I have music to help me along and Spotify to play it on. When I work, I usually listen to playlists, but I occassionally also put on an album. Here are some of my favorites:…

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