a daily photo from Southern California's little town in the big city
Sunday, September 23, 2012
Dance 'Til You're Blurry
I don't know if you guys have been paying attention, but the world has been conspiring to be a ginormous buzzkill lately. We've got the usual election year mudslinging, more terrifying violence in the Middle East, dour economic forecasts and enough accompanying bombast to make me wish for a universal mute button. Not only that, but just when we all have tried so hard to embrace healthy eating, some nosy guys in lab coats just figured out that rice -- pure, simple, Whole Foods staple rice -- contains dangerous levels of arsenic.
I say we all need a little cheering up. Even though it's Sunday, it's time for another installment of Laurie's Friday Playlist! Heck, if you play these tunes long enough, it will feel like Friday. You might even decide to ditch this week's duties all the way to next Friday, in which case I offer the usual disclaimer:
In no event will we be liable for, including without limitation, indirect or consequential loss of reputation, dance injuries, shirked responsibilities or public displays of silliness arising out of or in connection with the use of Laurie's Friday Playlist. Play these songs at your own risk, and make sure to turn the volume up to 11.
As usual, you can find all of these songs on iTunes, Amazon and most other MP3 sites. Remember, I tend to jump around the musical spectrum and might follow the Cotton Eyed Joe with Mozart's Requiem. Why? Because when life offers you a buffet, it's best to pile your plate high and sample everything.
So, put on your dancing shoes because today I bring you Laurie's Shameless Dance Party ... a Playlist for Cutting Rugs and Shaking Booties! Don't worry, there's not a Macarena or Chicken Dance in the whole mix...
Let's start with an a fantastic classic from the swing era. Anyone who thinks radical music was born with the electric guitar hasn't really checked out the wild carryings-on from the age of jitterbugs. If the Andrews Sisters were the 1940s versions of Disney pop stars, Benny Goodman and Tommy Dorsey were the ones your mother warned you about. (Even Keith Moon had nothing on swing drummer Gene Kruppa.) Here's one of my favorite recordings of Sing Sing Sing with Benny Goodman's orchestra, a fantastic Harry James trumpet solo and Kruppa himself in all of his wild glory.
Don't sit down yet, I'm just getting started. Next, I bring you something that has probably already blown up your Facebook feed. But in case, like me, you never check Facebook, I bring you the Korean sensation Psy with his infectious dance track Gangnam Style. It proves to everyone that groove is the universal language and dancing like nobody is looking is probably the key to peace between nations.
Speaking of dancing like nobody's looking, let's slow it down for a few minutes and trance out with Radiohead's front man Thom Yorke as he offers wonderful weirdo choreography to accompany Lotus Flower.
Like this mellow vibe? Then hang out on the dance floor for some classic psychedelic naval-gazing with the Beatles Tomorrow Never Knows. Who needs electric guitars when we have a sitar and a tamboura?
Feeling warmed up? Then rave on into the classic nineties dance track by Underworld that always makes me feel like anything is possible. Karl Hyde and Rick Smith are now considcered the elder statesmen of electronica -- even acting downright responsible by serving as musical directors for the opening ceremonies of the London Olympics. But here, inRez, they're the hypnotic pied pipers of party fun.
Don't put down those glowsticks! This past week, Shannon Leto of Thirty Seconds to Mars dropped a brilliant remix of the band's song Night of the Hunter. It turns an epic track worthy of a Kubrick-directed rock opera into an infectious electronic dance piece.
Okay, everybody can come back to earth now, grab a partner and show off your best Texas two-step with this catchy country rock song City Lights by Jeremy Williams. (Hint: the brilliant Austin singer/songwriter just happens to be my nephew -- and you can get his entire album on iTunes.)
We've all heard the old saying, "I'm dancing as fast as I can!" Well, those behind South Africa's Shangaan Electro Dance have gone literal. 180 beats per minute? Why not?! Or, in the words of Richard Hlungwani during a CNN interview, “The world will go faster. It won’t go at the pace it’s going now, It will go a little bit faster, because Shangaan electro is going to do that.” Check out the Electro Dance here with Nwa Pfundla.
I know what you're thinking ... what we need right about now is some good, sixties-inspired Brit-Rock with a beat that makes you want to put on your GoGo boots and do the Pony! Gotcha covered with Miles Kane's impossibly hip Rearrange. All I know is that I want this guy to score the next James Bond series.
Which brings us to our final number, by a woman who is no stranger to GoGo boots. Most of the Best Of lists choose Vogue as Madonna's most fabulous dance song, but I have always been partial to Ray of Light. It's utterly goofy with melodic optimism, and that's just what I want. It's unbridled hope and inspiration set to a beat that everyone can dance to.
In December of 2007, after many years on the west side of Los Angeles (and at least a third of those years spent stuck in traffic on Pico Boulevard) my family settled into a happy little house in South Pasadena. This daily blog covered over 4 year as I put down roots in my new home town.
My New Blog Launching Sometime in 2013
Check out my multimedia column archive: Views from the Front Porch
Published at Patch.
September, 2013: After a year off, I'm gearing up for the launch of my new blog. Stay tuned for more information...
Thank you Charlie's Coffee House for hosting my photo exhibit, South Pas: Observed. From October 2011 through January 2012 my pictures graced the walls of the best place in town to get a cup of coffee!
Read the nifty story on photo bloggers Petrea Burchard, Ben Wideman, Kat Likkel and little old me featured in the September, 2011 issue of Pasadena Magazine.
For over 4 years, I presented a picture a day from South Pasadena, California -- an incorporated city within the greater Los Angeles metropolitan area. All photos up to November, 2008 were taken with a Fujifilm Finepix E900 camera. I added a Fujifilm Finepix S2000HD megazoom in December 2008, a Nikon D3100 in 2010 and a Lumix DMC-DS8 in 2011. I shot with them all. In August 2010 I joined the iPhone camera craze and sometimes included pictures captured by my phone. I regularly cropped images and used basic editing software to adjust the brightness, intensify the contrast, and increase color saturation. Other than that, all images came straight from the camera with minimal alteration. (If I couldn't have done it in a darkroom, I wouldn't do it with a computer.)
The bigger picture:
Consider it a love letter to the place I call home.
You can click on any picture to see a larger version.
All photos and prose on this blog copyright Laurie Allee. Reproduction without written permission is prohibited. (Plus, it's really uncool.)
Novel lovers, look out! Everybody's favorite San Gabriel Valley daily photoblogger Petrea Burchard takes us on a journey back to King Arthur's 'hood in her wonderful debut novel Camelot and Vine. (If you don't fall madly in love with her smart-ass narrator, you definitely deserve to be put into an iron maiden.) Be sure to keep up with Petrea at her legendary blog, Pasadena Daily Photo, AKA: Living Vicuriously.
And while we're on the subject of great takes on old themes, be sure to pick up a copy of Margaret Finnegan's delightful debut novel, The Goddess Lounge -- undoubtedly the kookiest, most wonderful riff on Homer's Odyssey ever written. Margaret never ceases to inspire and make us laugh at her blog Finnegan Begin Again. Her book is magical, silly, smart and a wonderful love letter to the all the goddesses among us.
Kevin McCollister of East of West LA blows our minds with haunting images of Los Angeles. But since we can't put his blog on our coffee table, we can buy his fantastic book. I believe Kevin's images truly capture the quixotic and often heartbreaking soul of LA. Don't take my word for it, see what The LA Times had to say.