24 December, 2009

top 11 moments of 2009

in an effort to clear my decks and raise a metaphorical glass to the 365 days gone by, here's my listy of mem'ries from 09. by the way, i didn't think twice at the approach, but, um, the decade is over. wierd.

Andrew Bird @ Carnegie Hall
sometimes you are just rooting for people. i have been an andrew bird fan since i was 19 and got turned onto him the summer i lived in chicago. in the intervening years, i have followed every note of every song, marveled at his evolution, and cheered every time more people found him. i wont claim any close friendship, but we are friendly, and it was pure joy to see a friend step onto the stage at carnegie and belong. more than belong, he molded that historic room to his singular vision. bravo!

angels@mariners, april, safeco field, seattle WA + mets@nationals, june, nationals park, DC you all know by now that i'm a sucker for beisbol. combine it with work, and i am a happy kitten. i got to two games this year while i was on tour, a low total for me, but at least they were in new parks, and i had great seats. at safeco, i munched on the garlic fries and walked the gorgeous open concourse that wraps the whole field. in DC, a light rainstorm let me sit first row, behind third base, for the whole game. david wright tossed me a foul ball at the end of an inning. i think he thought i was 12. oops, i dropped it.
read this cool blog on baseball camera-angles

beantown swing orchestra
this year, my good friend sam got married. as part of his wedding, he wanted his musical friends to sing with a real, live, big band. turns out, the band he found, boston's 18-piece beantown swing orchestra, were big fans of mine. in the months leading up to the wedding, they let me sing with them a few times. i learned about 20 charts, and i learned that singing with a big band is like singing strapped to the front of a runaway 18-wheeler. something about the work of 3 set nights, of playing for dances and weddings, made me feel like i was running on the orpheum circuit, circa 1927. i felt like a trouper and i loved it.

New Orleans Artist Retreat with ATC/FMC in may, i got to spend three days in new orleans at an activism workshop. i met a slew of other amazing artists and got to see parts of new orleans i hadnt been to before. for me, that i got asked to be part of a group like that was a vote of confidence for my own nascent activist work. in short, i always wanted to, but didnt know how. air traffic control and future of music coalition have gave me the tools and then some.

Among The Oak and Ash Tour for three weeks in june, i got to be a bass player. that's it. nothing else. my friends garrison and josh invited me to fill in for a tour in their new band. their music is a beautiful mix of traditional apppalachian and modern punk rock. on paper, hmm, sounds clunky. in the air and on stage, it trancends categorization.

Cabin Fever Three, In the River
of all the cabin fever episodes, this one was my favorite. perhaps it was the sheer impossibility of shooting a live web episode in 2 feet of flowing water. perhaps it was the long list of cool special guests. perhaps it was my neighbors gathering on the banks to cheer us on. perhaps it was getting to play songs about water in the water. perhaps it was getting baptised in the waters of the internets at the end. i dare say it was the proudest moment of my career.

Hike in Capital Reef National Park, Torrey UT i didnt get to do as much hiking/outdoor exploring as i would have liked this summer, but i was able to fit a little jaunt in the morning before my set at the Red Rock Women's Fest. gorgeous rocks, open space, and solitude. i do love this country.

Nature Camp Adult Session
through an old friend, i got to go back to my childhood summer camp and teach stringband in the adult session. i was in charge of the bass, mandolin, and guitar players. teaching music to non-musicians, or rather musicians who dont play anymore, was a challenge and a good reminder how blessed i am to be able to spend all my time making art. plus it was a trip to go back to summer camp and not have any rules.

Shoot for OUT Magazine 100

sometimes i get itchy about exclusively gay stuff. part of it is my pathologically fierce notion of "don't fence me in". perhaps its my growing attachment to a "queer" identity- as opposed to lesbian, bi, or straight but not narrow. in the end, i said yes to this honor, and got to spend an afternoon being fussed over by gay men and photographed by the lovely jason bell. i love how the picture came out, and i am proud to be included in such a diverse portfolio. they named me "the cool" girl. let me tell you, that was the furthest thing from who i was in highschool.

Ellnora Guitar Festival

my friend natalia zukerman and i got invited to be part of this fantastic weekend in champaign-urbana IL. as far as bang for the buck and diversity, this is the best guitar festival i've ever been to. there's a big tent called guitar, and i really liked all the people who fit under it.

FMC Conf / Lobby Day on Capitol Hill

as an extension of my new orleans time, i got to participate in the future of music policy conference. three days with smarty smarty people talking about more than theoretical mumbo jumbo. these are people who think about how to make the world better, then do it. one thing i have learned about activist work, narrow your focus and then concentrate. for me, that's led me to the question: how do we make the cultural job of Artist as viable and liveable as any other vocation? all my work is under the umbrella of answering that question!