Ohio: Where It’s At

After a false start, I will be attending graduate school this fall (gulp). It’s been several years since undergrad. I will be uprooting my life, leaving all my loved ones behind, and living in a state I never thought I would ever live. A state I had to look up on a map to figure out its exact proximity to other states.

I shouldn’t be so coastal-minded. It’s like one of those cliche romantic comedies: the big city girl moves to a small town and everyone laughs as she trips in her heels and falls into a pile of mud.

There are very few CA programs that offer fully funded MFAs—I only applied to one, unsuccessfully. I was fortunate to receive two offers with full funding and a GTA position with a livable stipend. I accepted the offer at the more established, diverse program with a lighter teaching load. I will teach composition and, eventually, poetry writing.

It’s rather scary. The thought of teaching makes me want to vomit, then faint, and I’m sure Julian Sands won’t be there to catch me in the classroom.

List of What I Enjoy Related to Ohio

– Glee

 

– Alissa Czisny, my favorite current U.S. ladies figure skater who had the loveliest long program last season.

 

– Juliana Spahr, poet and professor. I love how there is a DJ in the background—Americans need to get on board: poetry + DJ = a good time. I need to find “Dole Street” somewhere since I lost my copy.

 

– Maya Lin, designer of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. I once delivered a package to her at her Soho studio.

– Oberlin College, because my grandmother went there on scholarship.

– Writers including Toni Morrison, Rita Dove (poem link), Michael Cunningham, and Sherwood Anderson.

– Actors including Halle Berry (when she’s not ruining my superhero icons), Drew Carey (who tells me the right price), Yvonne Craig (Bat Girl in the 60s show), Maggie Grace (Shannon from Lost), Katie Holmes (Scientology captive), Paul Newman (class act), and Sarah Jessica Parker (fabulous!).

 

– Musicians including Bone Thugs N Harmony, Tracy ChapmanJohn Legend, and Trent Reznor.

This song was ALWAYS bumpin’ in my high school parking lot full of low riders.

 

See? It won’t be so bad. I will just have to endure seasons. And lack of car and subway. But time to read and write? Getting paid to read and write (and teach)? An incredible gift. I welcome the challenges. I got this.

The Hunter Arrives: Florence + the Machine Tours America

Glorious Florence + the Machine is gracing the Bay area with her presence this Sunday.

Last week, she kicked off her latest US tour at the Bonnaroo Festival in Tennessee. She will play at the Greek Theater at UC Berkeley, my alma mater and site of my first ever concert (Third Eye Blind!).

Back in 2009, Florence was shortlisted for the Mercury Prize for her debut album Lungs, but she blew up stateside last year after her song “Dog Days Are Over” ran in the Eat Pray Love trailer. The film was directed by Glee’s creator Ryan Murphy and the song was later covered on Glee.

Since then, she’s been on a media blitz, doing the did the grand rounds of awards shows: she was a highlight at the MTV Video Music Awards, the Grammys, and the Oscars (where she replaced Dido in performing the song from 127 Hours). As mentioned previously on dd blog, she also contributed a track on the Twilight Saga: Eclipse film soundtrack.

Known for her flaming red hair and gypsy bohemian glamour, she has been featured in Vogue twice and this month she is on the cover of Bust and Nylon. Her tour costumes are currently designed by Gucci, as she is the new face of the brand.

Florence has lungs that stretch over any type of song, from the early Sarah McLachlan-esque “Rabbit Heart (Raise It Up)” to the soul cover “You’ve Got The Love” to the scorching call of “Howl” which is a genre all its own.

Her range and passion astonishes me and I am thrilled to see her in concert! Now I just need to find some jewels and feathers. . .

“Rabbit Heart” on KEXP acoustic

 

“Howl” at Glastonbury Festival 2009

 

A BBC Radio 4 “Rhyme and Reason” interview with Florence on how poetry inspires her.

Listen Up: Another Hit Of Keane

Due to the heavy rotation of Glee’s “Somewhere Only We Know,” I rustled through my CDs and started listening to Keane‘s first album “Hopes and Fears.”

I remembered how much I love “Your Eyes Open”—it has a rippling piano line, a soaring chorus, and the bittersweet taste of loving someone who has emotionally shut down in the relationship.

Richard Armitage as Warrior: Tiny version & British God version

This is my take on similar photos posted and discussed by servetus on Me + Armitage and by many all over tumblr this week.

Richard Armitage appeared on a Rise Up Christchurch benefit television program (supporting New Zealanders as they recover from the recent earthquake) in his Thorin dwarf prototype test beard and hat. It’s our first glimpse of him getting into character on The Hobbit set.

Screencap of Richard Armitage in early makeup/costume tests for "The Hobbit" (courtesy of: http://thorntonmakesmyrealityaletdown.tumblr.com

Bwahaha at thortonmakesmyrealityaletdown tumblr’s response:well I’m turned on.

Sex(y) dwarf? I always found Soft Cell’s song “Sex Dwarf” amusing.

But this appearance has been upstaged. Shot during the filming of the final RA episode of Spooks, this astonishing photo has been burning up the Internet.

Richard Armitage as the epitome of masculinity (courtesy of: http://recycledvinyl.tumblr.com/post/5758920497)

Look forward, look forward at me. Fierce.

servetus at Me + Armitage is doing a thorough analysis of this image.

A more detached look at the picture: this is John Bateman, not the tender, sympathetic Lucas North alter ego of seasons past – this is the murdering terrorist that I have no sympathy for and would totally snitch out to Sir Harry Pearce.

DIGRESSION

  1. Blargh – the writers did the character and RA a disservice with this late revelation. Kind of like the Season 4 ending of La Femme Nikita (SPOILER) when it is revealed that Nikita was a spy for Center and fans became upset since it invalidated Nikita’s journey through Section One after Season 1. And also because it was a stunning revelation for fans who loved Michael and Nikita’s relationship and wanted to believe in her love for him and wanted that moment of freedom for them to be together.
  2. See the unforgettable Season 4 “finale” scene here—with one of Roy Dupuis‘ brilliant improvisational gestures.
  3. Due to the intensity of the fans’ campaign against the ending, the USA network greenlit a final eight episodes and the series ended on a much more satisfying (and romantic) note, albeit a bittersweet one. See the Season 5 for-real finale scenes here. An amazing gift to the fans by the LFN cast, crew, and the USA network.

But back to RA. I’m trying to think of a good song to accompany this arresting picture for when it shows up in fanvids. I was recently blown away by Glee’s Heather Morris’s dance moves in this Esquire video. Especially the “Heart Attack” by Raphael Saadiq number.

Heart attack indeed. Well I’m turned on.

But what are the female song equivalents for asserting a sexual gaze towards a man? Certainly P.J. Harvey‘s “This is Love” qualifies:

Glee: Blaine + Kurt 4Eva

Ever since the North and South era, Richard Armitage has posted sporadic messages to his fans. Read them here.

In one of them, RA mentions that he likes Keane. I love Glee‘s recent take (listen here) on Keane’s song “Somewhere Only We Know” (Keane video here). It features one of the most beloved couples in teen TV, Blaine and Kurt. Darren Criss plays Blaine and has been the star performer this season and I really hope he sticks around for the next season. I loved the Pretty in Pink moment from the recent prom episode where Kurt says, “What about PROM, Blaine?” It’s also worth noting that Darren Criss is part Filipino and Chinese and does adorable covers of Disney songs “Part of Your World” and “Reflection.” I love that Glee has such talented (and sexy!) Asian actors and such brilliantly realized Asian characters.

Blaine is backed up by The Warblers who are actually not the actors you see in the show, but the Beelzebubs a cappella group from Tufts University who came to fame on The Sing-Off.

A Blaine + The Warblers album was just released via iTunes and features their ecstatic cover of “Teenage Dream” (video link) and a lovely unreleased cover of Barry Gibb and Barbra Streisand‘s song “What Kind of Fool” (see Gibb/Streisand’s original here).

After a lackluster season of Finn + Rachel + Quinn + Trouty Mouth shenanigans, I was ready to delete Glee from the DVR. But the last four episodes have been great, and the high points of this season have been Blaine + Kurt, Mike Chang‘s dance moves, Brittany‘s dance moves and one-liners, and everything Santana. Another low point: lack of Mercedes – when is she going to get a storyline and a love interest? And can Neil Patrick Harris and Joss Whedon come back?