Catch Some Wide Eye

Archive for the tag “music”

Symphony Magical Mystery Tour


English: Brendan Townsend conducting the Lared...

an elder wand with a resin core
sprouting musical moments from tip to bore
the magic of stardust becomes still at a glance
then heightens the conquest, encores to advance

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Sotto Voce


beyond my fate
the note spills from my lips
filling the spaces between spaces
in the words between words
until it spins into silence
and dies

Identity Complex


Matchbox Twenty

Sit back and grab a coke because this is going to be a long one.

Comfy? Okay.

As many ‘ethnic’ people in the U.S. know, it’s not easy being in two worlds. There’s always a sense of duality and differentness. Do you belong to one people group or another? Are you more American or more [insert racial background here]? Sometimes earlier generations make this decision for us, raising us in a “traditional” style that somewhat alienates children from their current environment, or opting for a more assimilated style of rearing in which cultural ties are slowly decayed until ultimately lost.

Matchbox Twenty

I’m pretty sure I’m in the latter group, although the line is fuzzy. My mom, as any devout Hispanic Catholic mother would, often kept my brother and I from doing things that were too American and might, thereby lead us to sin in her mind. She told us that we weren’t American, we were better than American. But we never associated with other often closely-knit Hispanic communities, and she would turn up her nose in disgust whenever people displayed flags indicating their culture of origin. We’re not like THOSE people, she would tell us.

This left me with an inherent moral dilemma. My mother, the one who bore and raised me, who breathed life into my bones and taught me the art of stories had defined my life story as being neither American nor Hispanic. Being a devout Catholic, I also hated myself because every step was a sin, in my naive sense of theology I was sure of it. Thus being so alienated from my peer group and every culture, I convinced myself I would never be loved by anyone and therefore I could not be married. So, at the ripe age of fourteen, I decided I would become a nun.

Matchbox Twenty

After a briefly zealous induction into a Southern Baptist church and an equally zealous reversal into agnosticism, the fact that I ever considered becoming a nun is absurd to me now. However, somewhere in my troubled teen life where I was both dealing with societal exile, an incurable and embarrassing skin disorder and an as of yet undiagnosed mood disorder, music breathed a world of relief and hope into my battered mind.

Matchbox Twenty

I can still remember first hearing the song on the radio, in the days before Youtube and iPods, back when MTV and VH1 still played music on the air. There was an opening wail of an electric guitar gliding above a driving drumbeat. The guitar waned in and out accompanied by a piano playing a series of chords I can play with my eyes shut, the harmonic progression of my people. The only word for this sense that comes about when you hear the voice of your people is “orgullo.” It translates into “pride” but feels so much more powerful to me in my mother tongue.

When the chorus of this riveting, tantalizing song came in, I was swept away. The voice, a very much American and non-Hispanic man went on about the beauty and complexities of moody, volatile Hispanic women. I could have died. Here, here were the words that understood me so well! And not only did it give me a small sense of identity and belonging, something which I so desperately needed, but it painted us beautiful. Not the shallow kind of solely sex-driven beautiful that is always all over the media, pressuring the many of us who don’t fit the stereotype in the least, but the lyrics of this song reached into the soul and heart of Hispanic nature. And it made me feel, for the first time, like I could be something beautiful.

Matchbox Twenty

I’m not gonna lie. I get really distracted by shiny things.

The song I’m talking about, of course, is “Smooth” where Carlos Santana* showcased and aided the career of a very young Rob Thomas. The latter musician then went on with his bandmates at Matchbox Twenty to produce album after album after album, even to this day. However, at the time, that honestly didn’t matter much to me.

Then she gave me the cd. We were sitting in anatomy class, and I can’t remember why she decided to give it to me in the first place. Maybe I had been talking about how much I love the song “Smooth,” even if I didn’t entirely understand why at the time. The case was cracked, but the cd wasn’t scratched and still ran well in my stereo. If it were a book, I would say I read it cover to cover. Something about the words, the words understood me more than people did.

I ended up buying every album they had. I was never much of a fan girl, wanting to be a nun and all, but something about Matchbox Twenty’s music spoke so deeply to my core that I couldn’t let it go. They were with me through nights of prayer. They were with me through studying for exams and reading for classes. They were with my before my first car crash- in fact, my radio refused to play the next track about ten minutes before my poor little silver 2000 Volkswagen Beetle was crushed like a bug. They’ve been with me through every crush, every break up, every piano performance, every day of teaching, through everything.

Matchbox Twenty

Naturally, when my brother told me late last year that they’d be coming to Savannah as part of their North Winter Tour, I about hatched an egg. Through decades of rigid piano rehearsal, choral rehearsals, classical concerts, jazz concerts and general musical study, I had never, EVER been to a rock concert. And I never, EVER thought they’d come down here. Ever. I immediately bought a ticket for myself and my brother [an outstanding musician in his own right], and surprised him with the news later.

When it came to the actual night of the concert, I was a complete wreck. Relationships were getting strained at work, I had been through no less than six suicidal bouts, and my brother was super anxious over his master’s composition recital. In fact, there is absolutely no way I would have even made it to the concert without my brother. Downtown Savannah was already crowded with tourists getting ready for St. Patrick’s day celebrations, and all of my fears about being seen in public by people I know, getting into car crashes and being around strangers were in full force. Somehow, despite all my anxieties [both rational and irrational], we wound up in our seats.

Matt Hires

That’s when Matt Hires took the stage. I immediately picked out which two bandmates were brothers, something which soothed and calmed me because I had also grown up in a family of musicians. Being able to create music with kin is an indescribably wonderful experience, so I prodded my brother on the knee and pointed out the brothers. Then we shared one of our quiet grins, the kind where we don’t have to talk because we’ve known each other our whole lives. That, too, is indescribably wonderful, and I was proud to have been able to share this moment with my little brother.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The man behind us is all like “wha-?” 🙂

The music which Matt Hire’s band played was hauntingly familiar, and at points I found myself already memorizing choruses and softly singing along- even harmonizing. Prior to the start of the concert, their bassist had taken the stage and practiced a few runs on his instrument. I could sympathize with the pre-concert excitement, the need to get everything just right.

Matt Hires

Stare at the fingers. Pretty fingers.

They also came across to me as a relatively young band. Though members were fluent in several instruments, I could tell [by my own training] that they weren’t always masters of them. Part of that may be from the self-admitted pre-St. Paddy’s day celebrations, but the eyes-glued-to-where-fingers-are-going thing kind of gave it away. Did they play wrong notes, bad chords or sing out of key? Absolutely not. Their songs were elegantly lyrical in a singer-songwriter kind of way and, had the crowd had a more confident sense of who was actually performing, I think many listeners would have been spell-bound.

Matt Hires

My right hand is magical. And I’m a rockstar. Wee! 🙂

However, when Matchbox Twenty came on the stage, the crowd immediately leaped to its feet. This was somewhat unfortunate for my brother and I, as well as the eleven year old girl who wound up sitting next to me, because we are all incredibly tiny. I don’t even clear five feet. All things considered, though, we WERE in the seventh row [starting after the VIP section] and if I held my camera high enough and used the zoom, I could see everything clearly. And what I saw was amazing.

Matchbox Twenty

I hadn’t realized until that night how many other people Matchbox Twenty had affected, or even how much they had impacted my own life. I knew every single word to all but four songs they performed over two and a half hours. A college-aged girl a few rows behind me also commented that this was her first concert ever. There were teenagers and older adults bopping around alike.

Matchbox Twenty

This lady. She’s a whole head taller than me. And I have a lot of pictures of her. -_-

Yet the band’s reach, like their lyrics, goes a few levels deeper than surface value. They truly sang through their instruments, literally conversing with one another with both excellent showmanship and great respect. You could tell that this was a group of musicians that had listened to each other and grown with each other, experimenting with new sounds rather than stagnating- all without losing their identity.

Matchbox Twenty

Doesn’t he look like a rabbi in this one????

Identity. There’s that word again. At the beginning of the concert, above roars and screams, Rob Thomas described the tone he wanted to set for the concert. We were there to share a moment. As people. As human beings. And we were there to celebrate life. As someone, again, who struggles often with mood disorders and suicidal thoughts, this call to celebrate life rather than give in to it was a phenomenal thought for me to take in. Not only that, but you could tell, here, too, was a man who had been changed by his music, his wife and his fans over time. There is something almost reverent about the way we sang, danced and generally, in every sense of the word, celebrated- and I was at times taken back to my short stint as an evangelical Christian. It had every fiber of excitement of a worship service, but not in a heretical sense. We were praising joy, music and life itself.

Matchbox Twenty

Pastor Rob. I like it.

Both Kyle Cook and Rob Thomas commented on the fact that Savannah was their first official southern concert and proudly described themselves as southern boys. This, of course, elicited a roar of applause, but it gave me a sense of pride, as well. Perhaps after all these years, despite the many moves all over the world, I, too, have become a southerner. Though this is an idea I am still wrestling with, the sense of emerging identity is one filled with warmth and celebration.

Matchbox Twenty

This man has talent oozing from his pores. Listen to him. Listen to him now.

Exuding that warmth, the band has reached out to their fans through various social media outlets, inviting them to share pictures and experiences. This, of course, meant that many a cell phone was waved in the air, grabbing as much footage as it could.

Matchbox Twenty

This lady. And her cellphone. *throws hands up* At this point I just went with it…

At one point during one of Kyle Cook’s solos, Rob Thomas reached down into the VIP section and took somebody’s cellphone, recording all around Kyle as he played as well as the entire band and audience from the stage’s viewpoint. Paul Doucette would often strut onto the side stairs while playing a stringed instrument, or he’d bang the toms as flamboyantly as my ex-boyfriend played the bongos- hands reacting to rebound by bounding well up to the shoulders before crashing down again. This juxtaposition of harmony and anger, quirkiness and mastery is part of what makes them so lovable.

Matchbox Twenty

Derp faces make me happy! 🙂

After multiple standing ovations, Matchbox Twenty decided to close with a nod to Georgia’s musical heritage. They broke into the opening strains of a familiar REM song, (“from back when they were good, as my musically astute brother noted”) when the music jerkingly ground to a halt as Rob Thomas let loose a slew of harsh words. Though I, and other fans who have exchanged stories over Twitter, are still not entirely certain as to what happened, it seems that an inebriated audience member had begun causing trouble- and perhaps harm to fellow audience members.

After the tense moment was cleared and the offender taken safely away by security, Rob Thomas did something that most artists wouldn’t even think about doing. He apologized to the many little ears in the audience for the profanity. I think that says a great deal about Matchbox Twenty as a group: a true musician makes every effort to respect the listener’s ears whether in harmony or in silence, in music or in words.

Matchbox Twenty

Much peace to each of the band members, technicians and families involved. I hope you have a safe tour and that the album “North” continues to garnish success.

* See first few comments for a discussion on this. 🙂

Nothing to Wear


I wasn’t a very socially acceptable teen. I mean, I got along with everybody well enough, especially when they wanted help with homework, but I wasn’t into the rabid fan, fashion shopping spree, squee, painted nails, up all night convo, boyfriend gossip party…ness. In fact, I can solidly say I pretty much gave up on boybands when I was ten.

Now I’m almost thirty and about to attend my very first rock concert. Ever. Mind you, I’ve been in music education for nearly a decade already, but I’ve never officially been to THE quintessential American musical experience- a crowd full of thrashing, hormonal, screaming fans cheering on screaming guitars and drums. But…

A band that I’ve respected since my college days has finally made it low enough in their careers to consider going to my city- and I couldn’t be happier. Well, maybe they’re not “low” in their careers, just a bit older and not as single as they used to be, therefore not making thirteen year old girls and boys break into a sweat over the mere mention of their name. And that’s alright with me, because they are some of the most poetic, musical rock musicians this side of Muse.

I’m angsty, nervous, excited, and haven’t a single clue what to expect. I will, undoubtedly, bring you many, many pictures. Wish me luck.

Concert Reruns


A collection of videos of my kids performing throughout the years. Some good, some better.

City Symphony


street light glow
hazy circles rubbing
salty concrete to a shine
sky scraper melodies
muffled closed-door arguments
babies cry for love of the night
sirens sing us to sleep
man overboard, over the covers
across the iron bars
of slick fire escape vine
peering over the jungle
veiled by cloudy cigarettes
and the street light glow

Second String


Second String

One Day You, Too, Shall Be Old


singing an ode to the twenty-first century
rocking in time to the beat of my melody
first with a swing, then a slow hemiola
lazing out tunes like a wizened vitrola
for these are the early days, glory days, too
our techno as old as the first bit of dew
generational views always doomed to repeat
the echoes of masters who died to the beat

Who Dat


this is a case closed
flight from the heart of art
city
with a hard cover
guitar lover
sticking to the causes
decorating case closed sticker
guitar undercover
to the sprawling song
city
jazz spazz
hard cover t-bone lover
smooth outlines of curves
stilted lines interrupt
a carousel goes round and round
with baby tuba
hand in hand
an old man sings
many, but
alone

The Hallelujah Chorus Will Never Be the Same.


Brilliant Idea of the Month


Leave it to an engineer to make poetry this interesting.

2b or Not 2b: The Poetry of Numbers

That’s right, folks. We are heralding our newest addition to the Spectacle family with a truly imaginative oddball: “Poetry for Engineers.” Each page meticulously written out on a typewriter and then scanned into digital format, engineer/author Clayton T. Grow, P.E. creates a masterful book of mathematical art.

[Read more here]

For Chad


i am not dead to you
and your highlighter yellow feet
follow the paths i cut
into theoretical forests of sound
as your ukulele strums
tumble from tilted desks
and make contact with the ground
ready to dash into the future
as a soldier for truth and joy

Racism in a Bottle


For the record, I’m 100% Puerto Rican but am often mistaken for a “white” person. This aggravates me to no end, but at least I didn’t get stopped at the airport for looking “Arabic” like my uncle did. Right?

Wrong.

Remember your culture but erase the race. Everyone in my family is a completely different skin tone. Diversity is normal. The sooner we embrace that, the sooner we’ll be rid of the tragedies like the one that befell Trayvon Martin.

mother, please don’t die


ǝƃɐɯı ɹoɹɹıɯ ɹnoʎ ɯɐ ı
ǝlıƃɐɹɟ ǝɹoɯ puɐ ǝɹnʇɐıuıɯ uı ǝpɐɯ
ǝʌol ɹnoʎ llɐ ɥʇıʍ ǝʌol ı ʇnq
uıɐd ɹnoʎ llɐ uı ǝɹɐɥs ı
sǝʞɐʇsıɯ ʍǝu ƃuıʞɐɯ

sǝʞɐʇsıɯ ʍǝu ƃuıʞɐɯ
uıɐd ɹnoʎ llɐ uı ǝɹɐɥs ı
ǝʌol ɹnoʎ llɐ ɥʇıʍ ǝʌol ı ʇnq
ǝlıƃɐɹɟ ǝɹoɯ puɐ ǝɹnʇɐıuıɯ uı ǝpɐɯ
ǝƃɐɯı ɹoɹɹıɯ ɹnoʎ ɯɐ ı

i am your mirror image
made in miniature and more fragile
but i love with all your love
i share in all your pain
making new mistakes

making new mistakes
i share in all your pain
but i love with all your love
made in miniature and more fragile
i am your mirror image

My Personal Theme Song


i suppose it isn’t much
and perhaps a bit cryptic
but spinning my wheels
like an alien off broadway
i’m surrounded by colors
you can’t even name
while feeling just a bit unwell.

Spectacle: Who We Are


Fun facts:

  • I filmed this at 2am
  • Since I don’t own a tripod, I jammed my camera into a hole in the tennis net and hoped for the best
  • I wasn’t listening to the song while I filmed it
  • My neighbors probably think I am crazy
  • I am not actually crazy, but I like to think I am. Which makes me crazy.
  • Okay, I’m not really crazy
  • I’m a  co-owner of this company
  • I know, right?
  • I got permission from the musician to use his song, so no stealing
  • Go to his website right now and check it out. There are hearts everywhere and that makes it awesome.
  • That was the first time I used periods in this whole entire list.
  • I think I’m going to make it a habit.
  • So, yes, you can support. the. artist. here.
  • Am. I. addicted. to. periods. now?
  • No? Question marks?
  • Why are you still reading this? Watch the video? Please?
[youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=simDWTHUZN0&context=C359b4faADOEgsToPDskLPUhmzPBBoUlLpYYRLFBh5%5D

“You Are Not Still Sadness?”


From John Lennon to Lindy:

[I took this photograph in a Hard Rock Cafe in Orlando, FL. We were swiftly chastised for being in that area to begin with.]

Jesus does not tell me jokes, John
he laughs at parents and me with twisted face
fingers, points laughs (at me) you see?
but he points nowhere cos I was not there;;;
not many people as bits of soap around my toes
and bubbles, no i don’t bilge and gruff.
your crimes are bubbles, too, love
and i do love, all love, type you see
freedom winks and back hood sinks
slinks down to the toes ad fingers
i am home with candles and chipper gravy
hugs for you scarred scab
my jokes are better than TV

Perfect Feather


the instinct
to pluck you from the cold, lonely ground
as i would have done if this were years ago
removed from me by adult heart, adult mind
knowing the germs are too plentiful
the risks too great
but funny how the adult hearts, adult minds
not knowing the risks
in those ancient days
plucked feathers from the very sky
to adorn their dancing bodies
free in their ability to touch the earth
as a properly programmed adult
can no longer do

[Vaguely inspired by the song “Les Passants” by Zaz.]

The Only Angel in Headphones


my love is a vinyl tune
that can spin you far away
it still will be around
when it can no longer play

[Vaguely inspired by the song “Mixtape” by Jamie Cullum.]

Watashi Wa Americajin


Last year, I worked tirelessly with dozens of students at my school to create a thousand paper cranes to raise funds. The money we earned from selling the cranes went directly to relief efforts after the massive tsunami and earthquake in Japan.

Not even a year later, things are still not ‘back to normal’ for the countless faces that got caught in the disaster. Several artists, writers, musicians and poets came together to create this video to remind the world of how much we seem to forget.

My special poet friend Gwylym Owen played a major role in putting this all together. Also, artwork by Leslie Moon is included, so be sure to check it out!

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