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Archive for the ‘Felicia Day (author)’ Category

2across  SOUNDTRACK: ZUILL BAILEY-Tiny Desk Concert #63 (June 4, 2010).

baileyZuill Bailey plays a cello.  Well, actually, that’s not right.  The cello he plays is old “very old — but it’s also special, built by the renowned Venetian maker Matteo Goffriller in 1693. That means Johann Sebastian Bach was all of 8 years old when Goffriller slapped on the final layer of shellac.  The instrument is unusually large, with a tawny orange hue, and one of only two Goffrillers which can boast an intricately carved Rosette under the fingerboard [see below].  And its sound? A full, round, burnished tone that pours forth with remarkable volume.”

Bailey plays three pieces from three of Bach’s suites (he had just released an album of six suites).  And they sound amazing.  The first piece is instantly recognizable and sounds incredible on this instrument.

But beyond playing a gorgeous cello, Bailey is a great storyteller.  He describes how when Bach started writing suites for cello, the instrument was considered a church bass–basically a piece of furniture and not something to write gorgeous suites on.  He also says that people have asked him if he has named his cello and he says that he calls it J.Lo. because it is “robust in the bass tones.”

Introducing the second piece he says that the sarabande was banned from polite society because it was considered too slow and sensuous in those times (which is why he’s going to play it now).

bailey2And then he describes the feeling of the sound that comes from that cello–it resonates through the maple in the instrument and vibrates his body. It is clear how much he loves this instrument.

Obviously the pieces are beautiful, but his renditions are really stunning.

J.S. Bach: Solo Cello Suite No. 1 – “Prelude”

J.S. Bach: Solo Cello Suite No. 2 – “Sarabande”

J.S. Bach: Solo Cello Suite No. 3 – “Prelude”

[READ: September 13, 2015] Two Across

Sarah brought this book home and loved it.  She thought I’d enjoy it, too.  And why not?  The main character, Stanley, is a crossword puzzle maker (Sarah finished it on the day that puzzler Merle Reagle died, sad to say).  The other main character, Vera, is a math genius who also becomes a puzzle maker.  The fact that I just finished the Felicia Day book in which she (a real person) is a math genius, gave me strange parallels between Felicia and Vera.

If those character traits interest you, there is so much to like about this book.  We first meet Stanley and Vera as they are competing for the national spelling bee in Washington D.C.  They are both certain that they will win (we get alternating perspectives from each of them).  And we see their minds as they hate the other one who is trying to take the title from them.  When the bee ends, they are both rewarded for their efforts.  And they form a strange bond, because they both have a lot in common even though their lives are entirely different.

Stanley lives in a hotel.  His grandfather was a chef there and his father died in WWII, so the hotel has offered them their cheapest (crappiest) suite for the rent of $1 a month. Stanley’s mother never leaves the room… ever.  She had never recovered from Stanley’s father’s death.  The hotel staff is like Stanley’s family, and he is well looked after.  But his mother pushes Stanley very hard, insisting that he go to Harvard.  And Stanley is clearly a genius–he used to memorize the encyclopedia, and he has all kinds of facts at his disposal.  But he is also deeply wounded by never knowing his father.

Vera, on the other hand, is pretty much transient.  Her mother is working her butt off to become an IBM sales rep and so they travel everywhere.  Vera is also a genius, finishing her school work in a few days and then spending the rest of her time reading or doing challenging math.

They are both quite likable, even if neither one has any social skills at all. (more…)

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felciaiSOUNDTRACK: FREDRIK-Tiny Desk Concert #57 (May 3, 2010).

fredrikFredrik are a Swedish band.  They were a duo, then a sextet and then a duo again.  In this concert, they are in that duo state–Fredrik Hultin on vocals and guitar and Ola Lindfelt on electronics and percussion.

Their then new release was a dark album called Trilogi and was just the two of them.  They play two songs from that album and one form their debut.

“Ner” is quite dark, with the whispery vocals and the minor chord progression.  The simple thudding drum beat also keeps the song somewhat ominous.  Speaking of the drummer, he is using a microphone (into which he later whistles) as a drumstick (he hits the cymbal with it later).  But his main “drumstick” is a maraca.

“Locked in the Basement” is a bit louder but with the same percussion set up.  It maintains that ominousness (just see the title of song).  Although in the middle it quiets down to just a thumping drums and gentle guitar noises with Ola’s backing oohs.

“Black Fur” is a bit more upbeat (in the blurb Robin says it is a soaring song on their debut).  It is stripped down here and it quite catchy–almost upbeat and positive.  It’s quite different from the other two songs. You can hear their recorded version of it (when they were a sextet) here.

I enjoyed these songs, and wonder if Fredrik has continued as a duo in the last five years.

[READ: September 7, 2015] You’re Never Weird on the Internet (Almost) 

Like most geeky folks, I love Felicia Day.  The Guild was an awesome show and her creativity behind it is really masterful.  And she was in Dr Horrible, which is how I found out that she was one of the slayers in the final seasons of Buffy.

So Felicia has the geek cred.  But I didn’t know anything about her.  And I wasn’t sure that I cared all that much.  I mean, Felicia is the bomb but do I need to know how she got to be that way?  Nevertheless, I was curious to see what she would put into this book.

If you’re looking for salacious stories about working on Buffy, you won’t get them.  Aside from an intro by Joss Whedon, there’s very little information about her time on Buffy.  Rather, she talks about her childhood (which is fascinating) and her Guild making days and her post-Guild success.  And there’s a rather dark turn near the end.

But really, this book is all about empowerment (as the title hints at)–all about embracing your inner loves and following what you want to do.  In the book, which is chock full of pictures, she calls these coffee mug moment sand Photoshops her aphorisms onto mugs for our edification.  There’s also a lot of very funny pictures of herself from throughout her life. (more…)

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SOUNDTRACK: BEACH HOUSE-“Myth” (2012).

I‘ve really been enjoying the previous Beach House record.  And in the meantime, he has released a brand new one.  “Myth” was selected as one of the best songs of the year by the folks at NPR, and it’s hard to disagree with them.

It’s not groundbreaking for Beach House (or anyone, really)–nice keyboards and guitars melodies, soaring vocals, a shimmering effect.  But like any band that hits its stride, Beach House makes a simple and beautiful song seem effortless.  How he hits some of those notes I’ll never know.  (Well, because he is actually a woman, duh).

You can see the NPR list here.  Or listen to the song (no video) here.

[READ: June 22, 2012] The Guild: Beach’d

My friend told me that the free comic book day was featuring a Buffy and a Guild together.  I misunderstood and thought that the two worlds would be intertwining.  No such luck. Rather, it was a split issue with one half being taken up by The Guild and the other half by Buffy the Vampire Slayer.  Which is still pretty awesome.

The members of Codex’s guild are lost for a place to gather now that Cheesybeards has burnt down.  Of course,  they are squabbling big time about it.  Codex doesn’t understand what the fuss is–just pick someplace. Tink just suggests that they never meet face to face again.  Ever.  But everyone else has some suggestions about where to go.

And when tensions flare up, they decide to battle it out.  Bladez proves the most formidable foe, killing most of his teammates.  The battle is awesome (I’m not sure what this does to their lives in the game, actually).  And he is pretty psyched that his spot–a strip club–will be there new permanent meeting place. (more…)

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SOUNDTRACK: PEARL JAM-Backspacer(2009).

In 2009, Pearl Jam came out with Backspacer, a 36 minute album of short songs (most are under 3:30, with three approaching the 4 minute mark).

It’s tempting to call this a return to form, but the songs have a lot more bite and punch than the tracks on Ten (which were fast, but were often quite long with lengthy guitar solos).  Overall, the album feels like a fun album, a good chance to let their hair down (those who still have any) and rock out.  And on the opening four tracks they rock really hard.

“Gonna See My Friend” is a furious blast (and the guitar solos are tucked into the verses for maximum expediency).  “Got Some” slows the pace incrementally, and there are some interesting sparse sections where just the guitar plays.  “The Fixer” has a catchy “yeah yeah yeah” bridge which seems like a perfect fit for concerts.  And “Johnny Guitar” is another hard rocker, but it features a mid section that is a major departure from the other songs: a quiet section with bass and scratchy guitars.  It lasts but a moment but it lets you know the whole album won’t be heavy and furious..

Because even though the disc seems like it’ll be all punk, “Just Breathe” is a mellow acoustic song that sounds like it came from Vedder’s soundtrack for Into the Wild–complete with strings.  “Among the Waves” starts out similarly mellow, although it has some big choruses, and sounds like the most typical Pearl Jam song.  And “Unthought Known” is kind of a mix of these two–a big arena song with pianos, swelling verses and a guitar solo

But just when you think the rest of the album is going to just mellow out, “Supersonic” rips the pace back up.  It’s a fast rock song not unlike “Spin the Black Circle”.  Then there’s a return to the mellower songs (despite the title) with “Speed of Sound.” It starts off with an interesting minor chord progression, but returns to the upbeatness of the rest of the disc for the choruses.

“Force of Nature” introduces a wah-wah (!) and a killer chorus.  And the last song “The End” is a gentle acoustic guitar song (like “Just Breathe”) which ends the disc on a quiet note.  This isn’t a classic album, but it is good and it’s a lot of fun.  And it has a bunch of songs which will remain concert staples for a number of years.  And for those who like Pearl Jam’s poppier side, it’s an intriguing re-introduction to the band who has been out of the spotlight for some time.

[READ: January 13, 2011] The Guild: Vork

I love The Guild.  It’s a very funny and very clever show.  I also enjoyed the first comic book, especially when it turned out to be not a retelling of the show, but a sort of prequel to it.  This issue is a one-shot that focuses on Vork (played by co-author Jeff Lewis).

And in the way of One-Shots, this story is a cute and fairly amusing story about Vork’s home life.  Vork lives with his grandfather, a ninety-something year old guy who is full of vices (smoking, drinking, porn) and who lives his late years to the fullest (there’s a very funny scene of him at a rave).  His grandfather stresses Vork out to no end and he winds up taking it out on his Guild-mates (even more than usual).  And they’ve basically had it with him.  So they ask him, no tell him, to get out of the Guild.  (more…)

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SOUNDTRACK: THE GUILD “Game On!” A Bollywood Musical (2010)

There’s an awesomely wonderful Bollywood-esque musical promotion video thingy for The Guild.  It’s really great.  The production looks like it cost more to make than the entire series of the web-show.

It’s full-on Bollywood with lots of extras, a crazy sequence with Vork as Vishnu, and a nice Real-Life fight.  The music is infectious with lots of Indian trills and frills.

It’s a great set piece and a terrific promotion for the show.  Well done.

Read all about it here.

And watch it now.

[READ: July 25, 2010] “The Guild”

I love the web-show The Guild.  Felicia Day is brilliant. I was even more delighted to hear that it was being done as a comic book–the perfect medium for her quirky and funny style.

Imagine how much more excited I was to find out that the timeline is BEFORE the Guild members met!  It’s a prequel! (more…)

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