Thursday, December 15, 2011

Covering Yourself

Ok, after that last ode to Sara Bareilles, you're probably like, "Kim. Shut up. Talk about knitting or how you exploded a squash or something."  But seriously guys.

There's just one more thing I didn't mention, that Emika and I actually took a minute to marvel about during the show.  See, Sara is the master of covers.  When she covers a song, it becomes brand new.  I think it takes a special kind of musical ear to be able to do that, to hear a song and twist it around so it's still the same song, just...really different.  Anyway, she's really freaking good at covers, and I love hearing what she does with classics.

But this time, she covered one of her old songs - one of my favorites that's been around since forever ago.  Covering your own work has to take a little something extra, I think.  It's hard enough to re-imagine someone else's music, but to take something that's come out of your own head, to move it around and change it into something new...I think that's harder.  I am terrible at covers.  I must lack the imagination or something, but even songs I've written myself always sound a little like something someone else wrote.  But that's neither here nor there.  My point is that Sara's cover of "Come Round Soon" last weekend pretty much blew my mind.

And now...a little time travel (my music professors in college would be so proud of my "research", though I'll spare you the musical analysis).  Silly, yes.  Unnecessary, sure.  Fun?  I think so.  Enjoy.

Check out "Come Round Soon" as she played it back in the day 
(this was 2004 I think?)

At the House of Blues in Chicago in 2008
(found it on YouTube, sorry the quality is rough)

Toned down in 2009:

And then, check out how she played it at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium on 12.10.11

And just for fun:

So yeah.  She's good.

The End.

Coming soon, Why I Love Lady Danville, in honor of the fact that we get to hang out on Saturday.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Oh What Fun

II have this tradition with a couple of my dear friends.  It's a simple tradition, but every year, when Sara Bareilles visits SF, we get tickets and go en masse.  Sometimes there are 10 of us, sometimes there are 5 of us, but we always go out to support her.  See (and forgive me if I get a little "we knew her when" nostalgic for a minute), we go way back with Ms. Bareilles. Sara was definitely a fixture at UCLA back in the day, and since she and I were in the same a cappella group (albeit a year apart), we often ran in the same circles.  Since I wasn't 21 at the time when most of my friends would gather at Westwood Brewing Company and Temple Bar to see her play,  I ended up selling merch at her shows.  Nobody cards the merch girl, let me tell ya.

Anyway, I spent three or four years selling homemade CDs, DVD singles of music videos made with friends, and I can still remember the first night we had t-shirts.  And a self-produced album that actually looked like a Real Live CD (it was shrinkwrapped, yo).  Things started feeling more legit.  She started drawing larger crowds and "headlining" the small local venues instead of being a 20 minute opener.  I used to accept compliments on her behalf (we looked more alike back then when I was college-thin), and giggle at the fact that people confused me for her, while using the misunderstanding to push more sales (shh secrets).

In 2007, she hosted her CD release party for Little Voice at the Hotel Cafe (whoa, found a video from that night online), and people were clamoring to get a copy.  Offering to buy the "Love Song" tshirt off my back if we ran out.  I was in a little merch booth, not just at a table in the corner, and honestly, at times I was glad for the separation.  I remember thinking how crazy it all seemed, that she was autographing CDs, not just selling them to people who wanted the music from that night's show.

In 2008, she headlined at The Fillmore.  They freaking recorded it.  You can buy the DVD on Amazon.

When she played the Cafe duNord in SF in 2009, I was recently unemployed and available to merch all three nights of shows.  That was the first time I got teary-eyed; during "Love Song", the audience sang along so loudly that she stopped singing to listen.  It hit me that this might be the last time I would be working behind the scenes for Sara - I felt something changing that night, and I felt all Mama Bear Proud.  We sold more merch than ever that night.  She had a new tour manager, who had kind of made light of the selling merchandise end of things, but once I showed him the numbers afterwards, I got to puff up my chest a little bit.  "Yeah, I'm good at this, dude.  I've been selling Sara's stuff for almost seven years now."

Now she's judging The Sing Off on NBC, which has of course garnered her another bajillion fans.  In the smallest world ever, of course one of the groups competing was made up of more alums of our a cappella group (hi, Sonos).  It was a trip to turn on the TV and see the faces of so many people I love.

Fast forward to last night.  The Bill Graham Auditorium, which has a capacity of over 10,000, was nearly full.  People standing all the way to the back walls, and sitting in the balcony.  Everyone singing and laughing and dancing and pouring love up onto that stage. Fans with coordinated signs. Teenage girls on the street saying "I know she's not singing yet, but I can like, feel her presence!" basically blew my mind.  Fans lining up by her tour bus, waiting for over two hours in the cold after the show for a chance to say hello.  Scheduled meet and greets for radio winners.  Not to mention the show itself -- she's come a long way from those tiny bar shows where it was just her and an electric piano and occasionally a friend jumping in on percussion or guitar.  Last night was a bona fide rock concert.  I can't help but giggle when she steps away from the piano to strut back and forth across the stage, fans reaching up to touch her hands.

If this sounds like a big ole love letter to Sara Bareilles, well, I guess it is.  I am so, so, overwhelmingly proud of this girl.  She has worked incredibly hard to get to this place, and has managed to stay true to herself and her music, not compromising her f-bombs and lame (I mean hilarious) jokes or turning into some high-maintenance diva.  I have so much love for this girl, you guys.  I don't know if you can tell.  And I didn't even give buckets and buckets of love to Javi and Josh, who have been here since the early days, the super crazy talented guys on guitar and drums.  Love, love love.

Every time we get together to see her shows, I leave with the warm fuzzies.  And this time, I thought I'd share them with you.  Happy Holidays!  :D

Josh, Becka, me, Sara and Emika
(Dana took the picture)

Bonus: holiday hilarity from Sara and Ben Folds (do you think it was awkward for Nick Lachey?)

Sunday, December 4, 2011

On Productivity

This weekend has been quite productive, one of the most successful "getting things done" weekends I've had in a while.  And with a crazy work week last week, full of multiple to-do lists, none of which are remotely completed, I think I needed this boost of productivity self esteem.  It's amazing what accomplishing a few long-awaited tasks can do for my mindset; I feel just a little more invincible this afternoon, and while I'm glad it's only 4:30, and I still have quite a bit of daytime left, I don't feel quite as worn down.  ed note: It's now 9:50pm.  I didn't work on this for 5 hours; I took a break for dinner and falling asleep on the couch while "watching" football and such. Please note that I am feeling ready to tackle the week but tired enough to fall asleep before midnight.  Yay.

And now...


Christmas Tree
We got our tree!  We found it pretty quickly in the 6-7' section (closer to 7', of course), and the lovely folks at the Delancey Street Foundation sawed a fresh cut, removed and saved a few low-hanging branches, and tied it to our car.  But wait - the story doesn't end there! We got home and realized our tree stand was not wide enough to accommodate our tree.  Will then spent an hour trying to saw the trunk down to a part where it was slightly narrower, and trimming the little nubbins off the side...eventually we he got it down to size and we shoved it into the stand.  It's a little bit of a tight fit, which makes watering a little rough, but it works.  And Reed stayed over and helped us decorate, with hot toddies and our traditional "Will's Christmas Playlist" playing in the background.  We even added a new tradition: adding photos to the tree.  No, we aren't fancy enough to use photo-ornaments -- I just printed some photos (using my sweet "new" HP Photo printer that I won at BlogHer and dude, you can print directly from Picasaweb From. The. Printer. WHAT?!) and we stuck them in the tree. And you know what?  It's kind of fun.  This morning, Reed made us a really cool origami tree topper, and le tree?  She is done!

closeup on the topper

Invitations and RSVP Cards
I've mentioned it before, but we would not be able to pull off this 4.5 month engagement + destination wedding without the help of my amazing friend Aly.  She is our wedding planner, graphic designer, stationer, bride-calmer-downer, scheduler, and ummm breakfast provider?  This girl is seriously on top of her game; some day when she owns her own wedding planning and coordination business, she is going to make bajillions of brides so happy! Not only did she design and build our entire wedding website (if only you could see the silly thing I cobbled together at first), she combined Will's Uncle Bruce's beautiful artwork with some really lovely text.  And made the RSVP cards.  And designed the email Save the Dates.  And came over this morning, with bagels, supplies and an extra printer just in case, to lead the invitation-assembly charge!  We got them all done, and I am set up with a Word template for printing on envelopes when we pull together the last few missing addresses.  Which, btw, is super easy with my fancy new aforementioned printer. I love this printer, yo. Also, did I mention that the invitations are gorgeous?  (thanks to Taylor for providing the confidentiality censorship)

Motion Sensor Light
A few months ago, I realized that at night, it's kind of hard to see the bottom few steps of the stairs that lead from the kitchen down to the basement (where we do laundry).  Especially if you're carrying a hamper and making extra shadows.  I asked our landlord if we could install a motion sensor light, and he offered to pay for it.  I immediately ordered it from Amazon and received it, and it sat in the house for oh, maybe, a month two months?  Ok, it's been busy, and too dark to do it after work.  But still.  Today I finally hung the damn thing, and I'm happy to say that it works perfectly for some reason it does not work.  Soooo ok fine.  But I got it hung!  Eventually I'll get it working?

Spice Rack
Back in August, I installed a DIY spice rack situation in the kitchen.  I was pretty damn proud of myself, but soon we ran out of room.  I bought some new mesh drawer liner things (uhhh over a month ago?) but had yet to install them.  It was annoying both to-do-list and practicality-wise, and finally today I took care of it.  Behold the wonder that is our even more spectacular wall of spices!  Now all of our cooking spices are within easy reach, right next to the stove.  The baking spices (cinnamon and nutmeg and such) are still going to live in the pantry though, because they are used much less often and hardly ever while cooking.

Kitchen Makeover and Office/Guestroom Plans
The brilliant Melissa (of Blitz, the design firm that did the Disqus office, of whom I am completely enamored) came over on Saturday morning to take a look at our back room.  It is currently an office (meaning that Will's desk is in there, along with a ton of boxes) but I want it to be an office/guest room. I don't have a lot of vision for this room though, because it is pretty tiny, and let's face it: I'm not a designer.  But give Melissa a measuring tape and a floor plan and girl can work magic!  For about $1,000 (sofabed, file cabinets, shelves, area rug, throw pillows), we can transform this room into a really cozy, library/study-inspired space, with enough room for Will's desk, a sofabed, and plenty of office storage.  Now we just need $1,000!

While Melissa was here, I gave her my "oh, so by the way, there's some stuff in the kitchen I could use some help with" tour -- and she had the genius idea of moving the microwave on top of the dishwasher (that no, I still haven't hooked up - but I will! I will!) to make room on the built in hutch for my pretty glass jars of grains (and the knives). There's enough room to set stuff down for prepping, and it looks much cleaner too.  And wouldn't you know it? The microwave fits perfectly in the space on top of the dishwasher.  And because I moved all those spices and things out of the way, there is more room on the kitchen cart for chopping and prep (and eventually, to open the dishwasher).  Love it.  So THANK YOU, MELISSA.

...and some bonus decoration pictures made it this far, and tis the season and all!

Dining table centerpiece
The front (living room) window
You didn't think I'd forget about Chanukkah, did you?
Can you find the hidden Star of David?
What about the Mistletoe (ok, so that's more Christmas)?

Decorating is awesome.
Productivity is awesome.
Awesome Awesome Awesome.