Woodstock, writing, filming with Kin, and boys
Good morrow blogonaters.
I've been guilting myself into blogging for the past couple days, saying "Fran - you should blog. There is a lot going on with you! Get it on paper."
I guess it's harder to do when the 'travelling' part of the journey ends in the more settled in, comfy part of the journey begins. Don't get my wrong - I'm not comfortable yet! I'm anything but. But I'm settling into my lifestyle a bit more. Finding a bit of a rhythm if you will. I've stopped carrying my camera around so much because I don't feel like a tourist anymore, etc. But the bottom line is that I'm still learning something new everyday. So I might as well be sharing and blogging and musing and creating.
Here are a few things that have been happening/on my mind:
1. I'm obsessed with Woodstock. Again. For anyone unaware, it is the 40th anniversary of that summer of Love and Amazon and everyone else is re releasing music, books, dvds, etc. to celebrate. I am currently reading "Back to the Garden" a wonderful account of this historical moment. I'm also listening to the concert on vinyl and awaiting my director's cut DVD in the mail.
Here is the background info. When I was about 11 yrs old - 5th grade - I watched the Woodstock documentary on VHS. And then I watched it again. And then again. I fell in love with it. The people, the music, the attitude, the imagery. I felt as if I had been there. Most importantly, I fell in love with Joan Baez. I received the box set for Christmas and began learning 'her' songs, writing them out on paper, playing guitar, singing them a capella in my room and to poor family members, and writing my own folk songs. The first one i learned was "Joe Hill." I had no idea what the song really meant - I just knew that it moved me. My own songwriting blossomed at this time. I never really shared these songs with anyone -they live in old journals- but I can definitely safely say the Woodstock documentary played a HUGE role in me becoming a singer/songwriter. I remember listening to a songwriter named Melanie's woodstock performance of her song "Beautiful People" - my parents came in my bedroom and said "Why are you listening to this? That girl's on pot!!!" - haha. I didn't care. There was something in the lyrics and sound of each performer at woodstock - and whether or not it was influenced by drugs does not matter to me - it was a freedom of expression. It was a soulful expression of sadness, joy, sexuality, anger, and love! These performers were completely expressing themselves with their music - and at the same time living with their fans in the muddy fields of Yasger's farm - over 400,000 of them!!!!!!!! This is the power of music people! These musicians had their finger on the pulse of the people and it is the perfect example how art can reflect the psyche of a generation. I have yet to find music these days that does that for me - completely - in an emotional, physical, and spiritual way. But that very well may be because my heart and soul are stuck in the 60s.
I was sitting at the oldest bar in West Hollywood yesterday - when I caught a glimpse of an article on the wall - LA times - recounting how the myth that summer of love rock started in San Fran was a crock - it started in LA and many of those rockers hung out in the very bar I was sitting in - Barney's Beanery - Janis Joplin and Jim Morrison most notably. Also my old idol - Judy Garland hung out there as well!!!! It was one of those moments when I thought...I'm in the right place, baby. Yes!
So as my daily songwriting journey continues I am feeling more and more like the flower child I have always been and I am craving that real, muddy, human connection of making music and art with fellow like-minded people. My creativity is flowing, baby! I'm meeting musicians and artists and filmmakers everyday. I feel truly blessed and I have no idea where each day is going to lead me on a creative scale.
My goal in the next couple weeks is to go totally old-school singer/songwriter and visit my first LA open mic. I have scoped out the scene - there are a few open mics in this city each night. It is truly a 'scene'! I am nervous, but need to just get over it and sing. I know my songs are good and they would love to be heard and love to be clapped at! So i might as well do it. What would Bobby Dylan have done? He would have found the artists and the musicians and the people making something new and he would have gotten up on stage and shown them how it's done. That's what he did in Greenwich village - and that's what I'm going to do. I'm just SCARED SHITLESS. But I know that creating music and sharing it with people is one of the most simple joys in life. It's oh so hippie of me. And I don't mind indulging.
***sidenote: I subscribe to a newsletter by a music industry know-it-all named Bob Lefsetz - and he remarked today about how he believes social media is not only revolutionizing music, but the world. He feels this revolution will rival the 60s culture. I wonder. It's definitely exciting! Maybe we are on our way "Back to the Garden"- except this time it's a cyber garden? Hmmmm.
2. Making movies with my brother. How did this amazing blessing fall into my lap? I get to come out to a new city, hang out with my brother, and make art with him! He created an amazing project this weekend with the help of his film buddies - a scene filmed in one take - based on a scene in the famous movie, Citizen Kane by Orson Welles. Jess decided to base his scene on an opening shot from another Welles classic - A Touch of Evil- and just use the dialogue from the Kane script. it was genius. We dressed up in vintage garb and filmed at night at the eery and beautiful "Mexican Village" set on his campus at Brooks School of Photography. Jess seamlessly danced through the experience, changing hats on a dime from director, actor, cinematographer, producer, and baby brother. It was a joy to watch him work and also to act along - side with him - a first for us. We had a lot of laughs - especially late into the night as we dubbed some of the dialogue missed in the shoot. I can't tell you how wonderful it is to be creative with your kin! It is a joy I experienced writing and recording The Casio Tapes with my older brother Seth, and I'm feeling it again with Jesse. I know we are going to continue to work with each other many times throughout our lives and that makes me very happy! Here are some great pics from the shoot by Alana Fickes.
3. Boys and Men and lots of them! My recent observation of Los Angeles is that it is 'ON THE PROWL.' Constantly. People are always looking at each other...with interest, curiosity, and hormonal prowess! I have never lived in a city like this. A city where people are just interested in each other - all the time. Maybe they are just wondering if you are famous. Maybe everyone is just hoping that someone they are looking at is on TV. Who knows! But in general - men especially- are much more open about looking at and talking to women then they are in other parts of the country. It's little more like Europe in that way. My impression of LA men is sorta like this "Hey. Ehay...hey there! How are ya! Here's looking at you kid!" sorta thing. It's funny. I am definitely observing that dating or being single in LA is not going to be a tough game to play. It's where it's at! There was literally no dating scene in Cambridge/Boston - there was the settle down scene. In a city where most of its inhabitants are transitory and out to network - dating and prowling become the most natural thing to do. You're always on the look out for the next hottie or the next connection that's going to somehow further your career. I'm sure that this vibe is the reason some people are soooooo not into LA - but for me - it is just what the doctor ordered! Thank you very much Los Angeles! I think you're cute too! xoxoox