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Archive for the ‘Amy Poehler’ Category

luchSOUNDTRACK: THE CRISTINA PATO TRIO-Tiny Desk Concert #305 (September 21, 2013).

patoI didn’t know who Cristina Pato was or what instrument she played.  So when the show started (without visuals), I assumed she was the accordionist (because the show starts with some wild accordion music).  But in fact, Pato is playing the bagpipe.  Pato’s instrument is the gaita, a Galician bagpipe, and her roots lie in traditional Galician music — though she also boasts graduate degrees in classical piano, music theory and electronic composition.

I love the sound she band gets together with the funky staccato accordion notes and the wild racing pipes.  They are very jazzy and very idiosyncratic.  Her percussionist uses several different types of drums—the ubiquitous box drum and a hand held drum as well as various shakers and other sound makers.

They play three songs.  It’s interesting how much of the first song is taken up without the bagpipes—there’s lenghy sections where the accordion has the floor and she is just happily dancing around.  And the accordionist is amazing.  he plays all kinds of different styles and gets an amazing range of sounds out of that one instrument. He wails!  Of course I see now that the song is actually written by the accordionist: “Victor Prieto: ‘Mundos Celtas.'”  So it’s no wonder that she is happy to sit back and let him shine.  (Prieto , like Pato, is a native of the town of Orense in Galicia).  While he is playing, she whoops and hollers to get everyone pumped.  But once she gets her instruments going she is a nonstop blur of fingers and wild notes.  I particularly like that she has a section where the note is slightly flat and she continues to slowly raise it until it gets in pitch.  I also love–due to the nature of the bag pipes–that she can scream and whoops while still pressing air out of the bags.  And at the end of the song, she is just wild with fast notes.  It’s a very intense piece.

The second piece “Traditional/Cristina Pato: “Alalá Re-rooted” starts with her singing.  She is unmiked so you can’t really hear her, but I don’t really enjoy her singing as much as her playing so it’s okay.  I do love the interesting sounds the percussionist Shane Shanahan (Shanahan is American, but is also a longtime member (with Pato) of Yo-Yo Ma’s Silk Road Ensemble) is making.  Overall, this is a fairly dissonant piece—with her sounding almost like a free jazz players (but on pipes rather than sax).  I do love near the end where she almost seems to get a harmonic overtone on the pipe.  It’s a great moment—but fairly weird how the song just sort of fades away before seguing into the final song.

Victor Prieto & Emilio Solla: “Muñeira For Cristina” this song seems to be all about percussion with lots of drumming and a very noisy tambourine that Pato plays.  She gets the crowd clapping along and then  when she and Prieto play the same awesome riff together,it sounds great.  I love watching her shake the finger part while she’s playing it, to get a cool almost whammy bar sound out of it.  The song totally rocks and the whole set with the unlikely combo of accordion and bagpipe is startlingly wonderful.

[READ: April 20, 2016] Comics Squad: Lunch!

I really enjoyed the first Comics Squad book and I was delighted that a second one came out.  I just recently saw that a third one is coming out the summer–I love that it is called Detention and is coming out on Independence Day.

Like the first collection, this one is edited by Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm (Babymouse/Squish) and Jarrett J.  Krosoczka (Lunch Lady).

But the rest of the line up is quite different this time around, which is cool–allowing other artists to shine.  This time there are stories from Cece Bell (El Deafo) ; Jason Shiga (a great indie artist who does some kid-friendly and some decidedly not kid friendly books) ; Cecil Castelucci & Sara Varon ; Jeffrey Brown and Nathan Hale (his own series of historical stories).

Like the previous book, the Holms and Krosoczka sprinkle the book with comments and interstitials from Babymouse and Lunch Lady. (more…)

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globesHaving just recently finished both Amy Poehler and Tina Fey’s memoirs, I came away with the same thought.  These women are hilarious and they have awesome advice for young girls.  But there is no way my daughter will be allowed to listen to either of these books!  (What with the f-bombs, the drug and sex references and, well, just about everything else).

And that is a real shame.

For I have to assume that the audience for these books (adults) is too set in their ways to actually take the excellent if unsolicited advice.  And their advice is so good, so sensible and so wise that I want my daughter (and my son) to have it instilled in them from an early age.  Obviously I could instill it in them myself, but we all know (and they too will soon learn) that kids don’t listen to their parents–they need celebrity advice.

And rather than getting it from magazines (the place where all self-respect goes to die) or TV, they should be getting it from successful women who actually like other women and want them to succeed. (more…)

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[LISTENED TO: April 29, 2015] Bossypants

bossyAfter listening to Amy Poehler’s audio book, it made me want to listen to Tina Fey’s book.  Sarah had read the book and said it was very funny, but I imagined that the audio would be even funnier.  And boy was it ever funny.

And here’s where I apologize to Tina Fey.  I had always heard her spoken about in such lofty terms as the funniest writer, the golden child (insert various rave here), and I wound up holding her to an unfair standard.  I never found her funny enough for me.  She made me laugh, but, for instance, I thought Mean Girls could have been…more somehow.  After listening to this, I realized what the problem was for me.  I always felt like her stuff could have been more pointed or something, but I realize that given the media she works with she was unlikely to “get away” with anything more pointed–certainly not on Saturday Night Live or 30 Rock.  Rather, she did lots of subtly feminist (or sometime over the top feminist) jokes that I didn’t really appreciate for what she was doing.  But when she lets loose in this book it is really amazing to hear what she herself–not a team of writers–has to say.  Of course, having said that, and having listened to the book, I absolutely need to rewatch 30 Rock (although I never cared for the Tracey Morgan or Jane Krakowski characters) and maybe even some old Weekend updates.

But, I already know Tina’s response to me, because she says it in the book.  And, it talks about something Amy Poehler once said.
(more…)

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[LISTENED TO: March 29, 2015] Yes Please

amyI typically don’t read memoirs.  I don’t really care that much about celebrities to bother with most of them. I do like author and comedian memoirs, however, because they’re usually well written and/or funny accordingly.  I have recently been on a big Amy Poehler kick because of the end of Parks and Recreation, so I was really exited when this (finally) came in at the library.

If you have read the book, note that the audio book is chock full of things that are not in the book.  She talks a lot about the “studio” she is recording in (she says she built it).  She and Seth Meyers seem to have a fun improv banter going on (which I assume is not in the book).  And the final chapter was read live in front of a UCB audience.  To my ear this chapter is the funniest thing in the book, probably because it is the least formal sounding and the audience really enjoys it.  On the other hand, after having looked through the book in the store the other day, I see that the book is chock full of things (mostly pictures) that are not in the audiobook.  So choose wisely.

The audio book is read by Poehler, which is pretty cool.  She has help from Carol Burnett and Kathleen Turner (although I don’t think either one says more than a few lines) and Patrick Stewart who recites her poetry and epigrams.  Seth Meyers gets a chapter and Amy’s parents chime in a few times.  But here’s the thing, evidently her Leslie Knope character is almost Poehler’s talking voice, but not quite.  There is something disconcerting about listening to her sound not exactly as you are familiar with her sounding.  I think she talks a little more slowly and deliberately (which makes sense for an audio book) than Leslie does.  So that actually took some getting used to.

Here’s the other thing.  This book is not all that funny.  And it is not really meant to be all funny.  I mean, there are funny parts sure, but it’s not a laugh a minute story.  Poehler gets into some serious issues (a lengthy chapter about apologizing to a disabled girl whom she inadvertently offended on national TV, visiting a third world country, and various other dangers of growing up and being a parent).  Poehler sprinkles these humor but they are quite serious. (more…)

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CV1_TNY_10_14_13McCall.inddSOUNDTRACK: BENJY FERREE-Tiny Desk Concert #15 (May 29, 2009).

benjyI had never heard of Benjy Feree before this Tiny Desk Concert, and I have still never heard of him.  I don’t know a thing about him, and I kind of like that.  Where did they find him?  They seem to know him very well.  (He grew up locally to D.C., so I guess that’s it).

He plays four songs and he is very funny.

“I Get No Love” opens with Benjy whistling and playing a guitar in a Spanish style (not fingerpicking but that fast strumming style).  But when the song proper begins, it’s a bouncy acoustic song.  Benjy has a nice voice.  He also encourages everyone to get out their pens a make a beat.  The whistling is truly amazing. It’s strong and powerful and very catchy.

In the second song, “Fear,” Benjy pulls out a great falsetto—it’s a wonderful combination of his regular powerful voice and some cool high notes too.  Then he tells the story of working in an office.  He says his boss looked like Clarence Clemmons.  It’s a very funny story.

Then he starts talking to the “chat room.”  He messes up the tuning of his third song, “When You’re 16.”  But he pulls through with a very solid acoustic song with more good whistling.  After the song he says he’d like to take lessons from Andrew Bird in whistling.  And then he curses which leads to a lengthy and funny story about going to school at a Baptist Church.

“The Grips” is the final song, it’s a slower, very nice song, which really shows his range.

He is a charming and very funny and the end (the David Letterman joke) is especially amusing.  And I have to say that I thought his hair looked totally fake and then I read that it was a wig.  Ha.

[READ: January 7, 2014] “Take Your Licks”

This New Yorker has several small essays about work.  They are primarily from people who I wasn’t familiar with–only Amy Poehler saved the five from being unread.  When after reading all of them I enjoyed them enough to include them all here.

The pieces are labelled under “Work for Hire” and each talks about a humiliating job.

So Poehler’s essay is all about working at an ice cream shoppe as a young girl–a typical summer job.  I’ve often seen young girls working in ice cream shoppes for summer jobs and I always imagined that they would get the hugest arm muscles from scooping out in those awkwardly deep freezers.  But Poehler focuses more on the cleaning–every night anything that wasn’t nailed down got cleaned.  Ugh. (more…)

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