Posts Tagged ‘music’

Purple pain

With my teen years firmly set in the ’80s, Prince was firmly set in my musical consciousness. His songs were fun, catchy, danceable and clear indicators of his genius.

But his music and persona have become part of the fabric of my family’s life, as it’s turned out, so his death today comes as a shock.

My husband, who has fantastic taste in a variety of music, and dance skills to match, has a large stack of Prince’s CDs. And in the early days of our acquaintance (in a church congregation at college, surprisingly enough), his lip-sync and dance performance of “When Doves Cry,” complete with eyeliner, purple jacket and white ruffled blouse, for a talent show gave me the notion that he was something special. Maybe that’s why I said yes when he asked me out a month later.

228122_10150184386647400_5199462_nFive years ago, when our oldest was a teen, it was announced that Prince was adding a last-minute concert in Fresno, near us. As soon as tickets were available, I pounced. I bought them for me and my husband and my teen. And we partied like it was 1999 (only it was 2011).

Just last year, when that oldest daughter got married, we knew we had to have a special father-daughter dance at the reception. It would be something that reflected US. We deliberated, brainstormed, and came up with something perfect. And it included Prince, naturally. I thought it was awesome.

The Prince is dead. Long live the Prince.

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I’m not a HUGE Christmas nut. I don’t start fantasizing about the holiday in July; I don’t listen to carols in October; I don’t decorate before Thanksgiving. (My husband’s the one chomping at the bit about those things before Thanksgiving rolls around.) But that doesn’t mean Christmas doesn’t mean something to me. I have good memories of the holiday growing up, involving family, gifts, and treats, among many other things. Especially, I like to remember the significance of why we celebrate: Christ. I’m a Christian, and I love the spiritual messages that remind me of Him during this season. At the same time, I have nothing against Santa and the commercial stuff that’s not exclusively centered on Christ. It’s fine to enjoy all the other trappings of the holiday, too.

I don’t even have a problem with people who aren’t Christian celebrating the holidays in general, all the trappings but not Christ. That’s fine.

martin shortBut I’ll draw the line at what I saw last night on TV: I happened to have the set on when Saturday Night Live came on, and it showed Martin Short hosting. That, I thought, was worth my time watching for a while to see what he would say and do. He’s done and said some very funny things in the past, so it was fun to see him again.

Honestly, though, he did almost nothing to make me laugh. He was straining. Then he mentioned that “a lot of babies are conceived at Christmas.” OK. Fine. But then, rather than moving on, he and the SNL cast turned that into a huge production number. The tune of “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” was turned into a crass and completely tasteless number about sex, and Short used lots and lots and lots of synonyms: lascivious, lusty, … well, I don’t really care to think about it anymore. But it went on for four or five minutes, probably. I kept thinking it would end quickly. It didn’t. I don’t know why I didn’t turn off the TV sooner than I did. Perhaps it was like a train wreck.

I can’t express how tacky and tasteless and offensive it was. Sure, I expect there to be lots of that kind of thing on SNL. That’s part of why I haven’t watched it regularly since, well … ever. But to hijack Christmas, a day on which as a believer, I do try to remember the Savior of the world, well, I just found this one particularly bad.

It’s all been said before, so nothing I can say here will be new. I just hate to see it happen: the insensitivity of others who would call me intolerant if I were to express my views on subjects they wouldn’t agree with me about, but who have no problem taking a subject I consider deserving of some reverence and respect and just dashing it to pieces with, yes, blasphemy.

Needless to say, I didn’t watch any more of that show. I’m sure the SNL folks won’t care that they missed me. Yes, they have a right to do and sing and say everything they did, but was it right? Was it respectful? Was it tolerant? Me, I’m thinking no.

Contrast that “holiday” scene with the one I encountered today during our church service. Two young men sang, one played cello, a friend played her flute, and another woman played piano, coming together on a simply divine arrangement of “Away in a Manger.” For five minutes, I was entranced, transported, absolutely enchanted. The music truly focused on everything that’s best and most important about Christmas, and it was done so well and with such reverence and care. The feeling in the room was of rapt attention and holiness. I wanted it to go on and on. That was absolutely the spirit of Christmas, and I’ll keep it in my heart a good long while. The several minutes I was held captive (somehow) by Martin Short’s completely non-funny routine are minutes I’m trying to scrub from my memory.

I love to laugh, I love to feel reverence, I love to appreciate talent. Today gave me the opportunity for the second and third, and there will be some other wonderful opportunities in coming days with friends and family to experience the first. I am just sorry that SNL insulted me rather than allowing me to laugh.

Here’s to all the wonderful gifts of the season.

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Life is full of all kinds of things. Here, I will write about whatever else just strikes my fancy, because, hey, this is my blog. Just expect this page probably to fill up with all kinds of odds and ends and miscellanea. I suppose this is the web version of that catchall drawer everyone has in the kitchen and/or office: you never know what you may find. Here’s hoping that whatever you do find here, you find it to be entertaining, uplifting, inspiring or informative in some way, or a combination of all of the above.

So I’ve been thinking lately again about all the things I’ve found interesting over the years. With my children getting older and finding their own interests and getting involved in activities, I am telling them what I used to do. My oldest, who turns 16 in a few months, plays clarinet in band and has been loving that. She also plays piano and is quite good at it, considering how few official lessons she’s had. She doesn’t really feel passionate about singing, though. She also loves art; she’s loved to draw and paint for years, and her creations are just astonishingly beautiful and true to life. My third daughter, who is going to be 10 in a few months, has decided she wants to run track at her elementary school (they do this for fourth grade!). It cracked me up a bit when she said she wanted to try shotput. My girls are petite little things, willowy and trim. So when the 9-year-old said, “That shotput is heavy! My arm is feeling, well… not very strong,” I had to laugh. I said, “You’re not exactly a beefy kid. The people who do shotput are usually a bit beefier than you. You, well, you’re more veggie.” But, hey, if she wants to try that (and the long jump and high jump), then great.

This younger one also decided that she may very well be interested in drama. I’ve taken her to see some plays, and after the most recent performance, she voiced her interest. Not surprising. My oldest has never shied away from public speaking; in fact, she’s quite good at it. But she’s never wanted the spotlight or wanted to perform in that way. But the 9-year-old, well, she is more of a spotlight gal. I think she’ll be great up on the stage.

These burgeoning interests are reminding me of all that I used to do. I performed in community theater as a young person; in fact, as I informed my 9-year-old, I was the star of a play at the university where my dad taught when I was in 7th grade. It was great fun. I helped out stage-managing and performing at our Playhouse in the Park in high school during the summers; I would have acted more, but I had band camp and other activities during the summer that interfered with the schedule. I marched in band for a couple of years. I played piano. I enjoyed singing.

Talking about those activities now with my girls, I miss those days of involvement. Now, I’m just as heavily involved in life, but with different kinds of pursuits, more “adult,” “responsible” things. I work a little, editing other people’s writing. (That’s at least something I get paid for.) I write and review books (a pursuit for which I am not paid). I volunteer with a variety of organizations, right now the band boosters. Mainly, I run a household, which is pretty demanding and complex work, but it’s not focused on me; it’s focused on my husband and children. But sometimes now I miss holding a French horn in my arms and creating lovely music and being right in the middle of a band that’s surrounding me with all the harmonies of 60 instruments working together as one. I miss standing on a stage and reciting words someone else has written that inspire or amuse because I’m bringing them to life. I miss all the cool stuff I did that brought out all my creative juices.

Now I’m exercising my abilities to bring out my children’s juices (hey, I’m a juicer!); I’m refining my interests and learning to manage my time and resources, exercising restraint. I can’t do it all, not at once, but I can do a few things that really inspire me the most. For now, that works for me.

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