¨¨¨°º the adventures of choklit chanteuse º°¨¨¨


Things That Please Me: Sub-Culture Blogs

'Cause who doesn't love blogs that offer up tasty bits of sub-culture?

COILHOUSE calls itself "a love letter to alternative culture, written in an era when alt culture no longer exists."

Photo from their lovely survey of Ruffs in fashion.

Stunning imagery, snarky commentary, and entries on favorite topics like steampunk, Victoriana, and of course Cthulu make this a treasury of entertainment for Choklit.

Ah, Cthulu ~ a nice segue to the venerable Ectoplasmosis: "a wonder closet of fringe art, culture, and ephemera."

Ectomo features must-reads like Moustache Monday, where my very own Stache was once featured, and juicy categories like the multi-purpose prefixpunk and perennial favorite tentacles are what keep me going back to Ecotomo for more.

Image from a post on Brass Goggles. Which is another visual treat for those with a love of all things steampunk. But that's rather deserving of a post of its very own, don't you think?

Go forth and be amused!


Centennial Speakeasy Soirée

Last night some neighbors of ours celebrated the 100th birthday of their house by having a speakeasy themed party. People turned out in beautiful flapper and gangster costumes, and there were lots of exciting stockings, like these stunning back-seamed cuban heels.

I was lamenting the complete lack of 20's costumes in my collection, but several kind friends insisted I was the only one who actually fit the period of the house in my Edwardian get-up. I love the styles of the 20's, but I am most certainly not built like a flapper.

Drinks were sipped from mason jars, there was much revelry, and the night ended with a spontaneous striptease by one of our lovely hosts, who went from a baggy men's suit and fedora down to boa and red corset to the sultry strains of Minnie the Moocher, much to our delight.

I had better pull together something flapper-ish before we venture down to Bourbon and Branch, a speakeasy in San Francisco where they mix up vintage cocktails and you actually need a password to get in...


The Medium is the Moment

In addition to a big gig last Sunday night that got everybody up and Otter Dancing, Baby Seal Club played a few songs last week at 515 Orchard, a new performance space housed in a turn-of-the-century church. It was truly lovely.

We were invited to play there by Mark Growden, an enchanting song~twister who has been the artist in residence at 515 Orchard for the last month. Check out Mark's music, or see him live, if you can. He's an absolutely mesmerizing performer.

Lovely photo by Dana Throckmorton.

Performing completely acoustically is a phenomenal experience - there is no reverb, no distortion, no wall of noise to hide behind... just raw music. A hush, candles, a crowd in awe... it's terrifying and exhilarating at the same time.

Mark said something to me last week that just burst open a door in my consciousness about being a performer. When asked why he didn't get tired of playing the same songs over and over on a tour where he had shows every night, he looked surprised and simply said "But I'm not playing the same songs at all. It's not the song that is the medium - the medium is the moment."

And a little light came through the cracks of my mind - it made perfect sense. That very moment, in that place, with those people in attendance - each one of those instances is a fresh work of art you're creating that will never happen again. Forget trying to replicate a great show, or avoid revisiting a bad one - each performance is its own new experience being born.

This theorem was beautifully illustrated this weekend, when our liquored-up alter-ego band, the Drunken Family Singers, made a guest appearance around 3:30 a.m. at a pool party - and the equally drunken audience adored us. A hip-hop version of Stairway to Heaven was performed, impromptu, with stand-up bass accompanied by a charming party guest.

The medium is the moment ~ beautiful. Thank you, Mark.


Things that Please Me: Balkan Bangers

I've been on a kick lately that I just have to share - a music genre called Balkan Bangers discovered by the ever-illustrious Stache.

I've long been a fan of gypsy-inspired music, starting way back with the phenomenal Latcho Drom soundtrack, and in the last few years, that's been stoked by fusion bands like Gogol Bordello, DeVotchKa, and Beirut. So I was beside myself with excitement when Stache discovered several playlists dedicated to Balkan Bangers - a happy marriage of gypsy and klezmer music with hip-hop and dance.

This is serious hip-shaking stuff here. Much of it is gathered up by Typsy Gypsy, a DJ from Belgium who frequently mashes up Balkan music with western hip hop.

And digging around the interwebs for such treasure led me to exciting things like this delightfully chaotic gem of a music video by Emir Kusturica and the No Smoking Orchestra. Emir is an amazing Serbian filmmaker and musician, and his tracks are among my favorites on the mix.

Go listen now. Opa!