To end out the Tiny Desk Christmas season, I chose this year’s entry. And for this year’s Christmas show, they went all out. There’s lights strung around the office, there’s twinkling gold tinsel behind them, presenting a wall of glitter, and a sign that says Dappy Holidays.
I don’t love Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings (I often feel like I am the only person who doesn’t). I’m not a big fan of the blues or of soul music, so there is that. But then I heard her blues version of “Silent Night” and it is a travesty. “Silent Night” is a beautiful tender song. If done right, it can make you cry. But this is just dreadful. You don’t make “calm” a ten syllable word. You don’t sing “talkin ’bout a Silent Night.” You don’t make this song fun. You don’t show off you crooning skills with this song. You just sing it. Perfectly.
When she’s not tinkering with classics, though, Jones has some good fun with two originals. The first is the fun “8 Days of Hanukkah” She sings about all the things they’ll do on each day–spin the dreidel, roll out the latkes, and the best: “we’re cooking up the brisket the kosher butcher sold my uncle Saul,” It’s a lot of fun (when the horns launch into the dreidel song amid their jamming it’s a good time). This is the kind of soul that I like–lots of swinging horns and good times.
And Sharon herself seems like a fun person–she asks for help remembering the lyrics to the final song and plays it off in a fun way.
“Big Bulbs” is another original. It’s also funny with the lyrics, “Baby you got them big bulbs flashing in your windows tonight.” IT seems like it’s a double entendre but I don’t really think it is, it’s just fun.
Despite my aversion to the first song, she totally won me over with the second two songs, and I’d happily add those to any holiday mix.
[READ: December 10, 2015] Drama
I really enjoyed Telgemeier’s Smile and Sisters. But I enjoyed Drama even more.
This story is an ode to everyone who works behind the scenes at the drama club. But it’s also a chance for the stars to shine and the shy kids to come out too. All done in Telgemeier’s delightfully simple yet effective drawing and storytelling style.
Callie is in love with the drama club. She works late on sets, she loves seeing things come to completion. She also knows she has no talent to be on stage.
And things are good. Until the drama arises. Greg and Matt are her friends. Greg is a little older and Callie has a crush on him. When Greg tells her that his girlfriend Bonnie broke up with him, she is pretty excited. And they share a kiss. But from that moment on, not only does Greg avoid her, but Matt is a jerk to her, too. Not bad for the first few pages.
When Greg reveals that he and Bonnie are back together the next day, Callie is pretty crushed. So she puts all of her effort into their new production of Moon Over Mississippi. She even believes that they should have a real cannon on stage–and she’s determined to make it fire, too.
When they start advertising the play, twin brothers approach her. Justin is the outgoing one who demands to be in the musical. Jesse is his quieter brother. They are charming and sweet and Callie immediately develops a crush on Jesse.
The twins are very cool and they introduce Callie to bubble tea and an amazing book store. And it turns out that Jesse can also sing beautifully, he’s just too shy to act (actually…he doesn’t want to steal the star from his brother who desperately wants the lead in the play).
The story explores sexuality too when Justin reveals to Callie that he is gay (but is very happy, which is great). I enjoyed the way this story touched on homophobic issues–like the boys’ father not knowing that Justin was gay, but that wasn’t the point of the story, so it didn’t delve into those areas.
Justin is a shoo-in for the lead until West comes up to audition. And he is actually better than Justin (even Jesse admits it). Justin is devastated that he doesn’t get the lead–even when he sees that Bonnie (who is awfully rude and horrible) gets the lead female part. It turns out that Jessee has been tutoring her in math (she’s terrible at it) so he knows her even better than Callie does. And it seems that she has again left Greg and has her sights set on West.
We get to meet all of the stage crew. Like the leader, Loren, a senior who is super cool and encouraging. And Callie’s bestest friend Liz who is an amazing seamstress (but who is afraid to go into the basement where the supplies are–which leads to some hijinks, and my astonishment at their supplies!).
But amid all of the external drama, there is still the drama of the play–how is Callie going to get that stupid canon to actually fire (without burning the theater down)?
There’s the dress rehearsal and the stage rehearsal. And then they have to get people to actually show up!
Things go very well until external drama interrupts the performance drama and an unexpected person steps up to help out.
And that’s not even the end of the story because prom is coming up after the show. And boy does Callie ever hope that Jesse will ask her.
Telgemeier says that this is not exactly a memoir. She did do stage crew but this is a fictional account of many different experiences. Whatever the case, you can see her love for drama. It’s a great book. And I really can’t wait to see what else she puts out.