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Category: Music Life

Thanks, Spotify!

Yesterday morning my husband took his sweet time before heading off to the office. He stomped around the apartment and rustled papers and made one coffee after the other and basically drove me nuts. Couldn’t he see I was trying to work? To be fair, my “office” is technically also the “living room,” so instead of complaining, I went to Spotify and put on some music to try to stop him from distracting me. It didn’t work. Here’s what happened: Husband: What are you listening to? Me: Eddie Gomez’s album “Palermo.” Husband: Which album? Me: Palermo. Husband: Speaking of Eddie…

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Music That Helps Me Survive

I’ve been working on the world’s most boring copywriting project for just about forever and, yes, I’m happy to have the gig—a girl’s gotta have some green, or in my Euro zone case, some pink, blue, green and tan—but if it weren’t for my spotify playlists, I don’t think I could handle the mind-numbing dullness of it all. Today I’ve been listening to my “Upmix,” which has these gems among others: Ok, distraction time is over. Got to get back at it. 😉        

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Laurie Anderson Live In Berlin

Last night I saw Laurie Anderson live at Haus der Kulturen der Welt  in Berlin. Her show ‘The Language of the Future’ was the closing act for Transmediale – festival for art and digital culture Berlin, an event which has taken place annually since 1988. I was a huge Laurie Anderson fan back in college. I still remember buying used copies of her CDs at Amoeba Music on Telegraph Avenue, all stashed away under the section Arists A. I bought everything of Laurie’s I could get my hands on, but my two favorites albums were Bright Red and The Ugly…

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Mentors

My eight-year-old daughter Lilly is sometimes an impatient, self-doubting perfectionist. She picks up a pen and draws a picture of a monkey (the girl really has a thing for monkeys) only to sigh a minute later. “Mama, I can’t draw.” The same goes for reading clocks, swimming, doing timetables. “I can’t, I can’t, I can’t,” after only five minutes of trying. “Practice makes perfect,” I tell her, dipping into the golden store of parental cliches. But I don’t tell her how hard it sometimes is for me to follow the same advice. I’ve gotten better about this with writing. Somewhere along the…

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Bowie And The Last Of The High School Virgins

January 10, 2016 I’m in the middle of a big translation project for a tourism company here in Berlin and the project is due at the end of the week, but fuck: how can I translate a text about Hitler’s Bunker when the Thin White Duke is dead? I take a break I can’t afford to record a song in Bowie’s honor. Bowie: 1. Hitler: 0. In high school, Bowie was my musical god, right up there with the Violent Femmes and the Ramones. I had a light gray cassette of his greatest hits which I listened to while showering…

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Pretty Voice

When I was in my early teens, I started taking piano lessons. My teacher also taught classical voice and, at some point, my sister started taking singing lesson with her.  One day my sister couldn’t come to the lesson and the teacher—she probably just didn’t want to loose the money—suggested I take her place. We went through some of the Italian art songs every beginning classical singer learns. It’s such a shame these songs around mostly sung (i.e., slaughtered) by novice singers, because many of them are extremely beautiful. Here’s Cecilia Bartoli doing one of the most widely sung Italian…

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Poor Old Me

What am I anyway? A hair on the left hindleg of a microscopic mite, a single speck of plankton in an ocean upwelling fifteen miles long. No one, niemand, nada, nichts. Yes folks, welcome to my own private pity party, a regular nobody-likes-me-I-guess-I’ll-go-eat worms affair. Ach Rebeccah, why so glum? Dunno. Maybe it’s the birthday blues 71 days too early. Maybe it’s the eve of a Berlin winter, when it’s already dusk at 4:30 in the afternoon, when sleet and ice and snow are a daily affair, when the sun disappears behind an unmoving blanket of gray and won’t come back…

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Harry Nilsson, Where Have You Been All My Life?

I’m not one of those people who needs silence to concentrate. The opposite is true: I need sound, I need music. As I write this post I’m at Hallesches Haus, digging the commotion around me while I listen to my playlists on Spotify with my red Bowers & Wilkens earphones, a Christmas present from my husband last year and so much better than those cheap earbuds I used for years and years and years. Depending on my mood, the music I listen to ranges from Lou Reed to Pergelosi’s Stabat Mater, Stacey Kent to a Tribe Called Quest, Bill Evans…

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Motherless Child

No song can make me weep as much as the spirtual Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child. Why is that? My mother is still alive and well, though she’s always been more of a peer and a pal than someone who fits the bill of the great mother archetype. True, I am a long-time expat—I am and will always be part alien here, an eternal Ausländer—but in many ways I feel more at “home” in Berlin than I ever did in California. Sometimes I feel like a motherless child, a long way from home When I listen to this song it’s like…

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