I'm going to enjoy the next few days napping as much as possible and doing everything else in between meals and trips to the bathroom.
Thanks so much for reading Home Girl Blog in 2013!
See y'all in 2014!
A couple of my friends had mentioned these 12 year olds to me, but I didn't really learn about them until they were in Austin for the Fun Fun Fun Fest this fall. They are insanely talented musicians, particularly for kids their age. I haven't seen their academic performances mentioned in any of the articles I've read about them. I just really want them to also be doing well in school. I know that the one size fits all public schools aren't designed for everyone, especially exceptional children, to do well, but I still just want to read someplace that they are excellent students. Don't judge me. I'm a product of my society--I just need to read that these little 12 year old black boys are doing great in school, any school, public school, homeschool, unschool. I digress. Moving on.
Watch this awesome performance from Totally Biased.
Y'all remember how when Zack was 4 years old, he started to work out his pain and frustration through creating dark and moody songs and "playing" them on his acoustic guitar? I posted the two songs he made when he was 4 years old here. I think he made them in one day--apparently he was dealing with a lot that day. Then there are the two he made recently, again on the same day--when he's on, he's on.
His Latest Songs
This one was inspired by his friendless summer camp days at the YMCA. Sometimes, unknowingly, parents don't always encourage their kids to gravitate towards or to embrace kids who are different. We live in a very white part of town and Zack was the only black kid in the basketball summer camp. He came home the first two days very sad because he said when he would try to talk or play with other kids they "ignored" him or "walked away" from him. If you know Zack, you already know he attracts people like a magnet and is extremely social. He has lots of friends--some from his past school and other activities, but most from my moms group. He always makes friends easily in the gym or drop-in playcare or randomly on the playground, which is why this surprised me. Unfortunately, some kids never see their families socialize or interact with people who don't look like them and they just don't know what to do with a little black kid. If this sounds foreign to you, you're probably not a brown person, but trust me--this happens all the time and not just to kids. After two sad days, the only reason I allowed him to finish the week there was when I walked him inside to spy on the third day, I saw how he lit up and ran to the only black counselor there, a young man, and when the guy made eye contact with me he gave me that universal chin-up that we understand to mean "I see you out here in this white world--I see you and I got you." I left and called my BFF, also mom to a black boy out here in these suburban streets, who shared my relief and moved on with life. I digress. Zack came home from Day 2 of camp, and this happened:
"I Wish I Had Some Friends"
And this happened the same day. The following song is a combination of him wishing he wasn't afraid of flies and, in my opinion, his subconscious desire to be different--because maybe if he were different somehow or more like the at the YMCA who all looked similar to each other, maybe they would want to play with him the way they play with each other. Just my opinion due to the timing.
"I Wish I Was A Grown Up (Insect)"
These songs happen all the time around my house. I have others on tape that I don't share, but every once in a while, he sings something insanely poignant and maybe catchy and I interrupt and ask him if I can record him. He has only objected once.
So, yeah. I ran across this artist, Michael Kiwanuka, during a google search for another artist during the Austin City Limits Music Festival last weekend. My discovery and the events that followed looked something like this:
Saw picture (above), followed link to michaelkiwanuka.com , clicked on auto music player in side bar, listened to about 8 seconds of "Home Again", picked up my iPhone, googled his name, texted link to his page to my sister along with one word--"listen", put iPhone down, made note on laptop Quick Note app to blog about him, picked up iPhone, opened iTunes app, bought the album, played it on repeat.
Y'all are not even ready for the voice that comes out of this guy--it's like Bob Dylan plus Marvin Gaye plus Ben Harper plus Jack Johnson plus heaven plus awesome. And his lyrics! Oy! And he's English!
Listen to this song...
And this one...
Also, check out this interview on Interview Magazine's site. But, hello? He has an English accent, so why would you want to read an interview when you can listen to one?
Watch this interview...
I don't have to tell you what to do next, because I already know you're headed over to iTunes.
Two outta three ain't bad. Weekend two of the ACL Festival ended one day ahead of time due to flooding at Zilker Park and surrounding area. It kinda sucked for us because after day 1, we decided we'd save our kid-free night for the final night and get close enough to the stage, for once, and at least get a decent photo of Lionel Richie performing. But it rained. On the bright side, we're getting a third of the ticket price refunded--not bad--and we had a great time for two days at the festival again with Zack.
Five Highlights of Two/Thirds of Weekend Two At ACL Fest 2013 (in no particular order):
I didn't know they existed before ACL Fest, now I can't get over how their music and videos are like nothing else--that I can compare them to anyway.
Since there are only so many photos you can take of an ACL Fest stage so far away to see the artist that it just looks like an empty stage, I'm sharing pics from everything we could see close-up and personal, which happened mostly in Austin Kiddie Limits.
All the following pics and video were captured with our fancy iPhones.
I heart Austin City Limits Music Festival for making it possible for parents to enjoy a kick-ass music festival, not stress about babysitting and still feel like one of the cool kids.
If you went to ACL Fest this year, with our without kids, what was the highlight of the weekend for you?
If you are a parent, and you scored tickets to the Austin City Limits Festival, be cool and take your kids. It's free for kids 10 and under and, with Austin Kiddie Limits tucked away in the corner, it really is a separate little festival just for them. Festival organizers have gone out of their way to make this festival fun for families, so take advantage of it!
When it comes to whole family enjoyment at the festival, here is our breakdown of how to share the time. A 3-day pass translates into one morning/afternoon at Austin Kiddie Limits, one whole day split between Austin Kiddie Limits and the ACL stages, and one afternoon/evening for adults only. That way the whole family gets a fair amount of fun and entertainment as well as a fresh crop of crowd pleasing stories to tell around the water-cooler or on the playground about that one time at ACL fest...
A successful ACL Festival weekend with kids is impossible without serious planning. My tips are proven effective whether yours are factory model kids or kids tricked out with few bonus features including a kinetically charged engine, slow response breaks and a highly sensitive anti-food system. The festival has done it's part by being as family friendly as possible. Here are a few awesome tips to help you do your part by having a kick-ass time.
What To Pack
Bonus Things--If your kid has allergies: Letter from doctor, list of allergies, prescription (bonus if on EpiPen box), Benadryl and snacks. At ACL, outside food is prohibited, but event staff aren't heartless. You've spent at least $225 to attend ACL and they get that you're not trying to scam them to bring $10 worth of snacks in for your kid. ACL Festival provides a great list of food vendors and their event menus for the weekend, so study the offerings so you have an idea of what you can actually buy there. It helps to minimize how much food you have to bring yourself, particularly if you plan to be there through a couple of mealtimes.
Want to see pics from our first time at the festival in 2001? Click HERE.
There you have it. Are any of your must-haves missing from the list?
Enjoy the festival!
"If you wan to go wash...If you wan cook soup...If your head dey hot...If your child dey grow...na water you go use. If water kill your child...na water you go use. Nothing without water. Water, him no get enemy! If you fight am, unless you wan die. I dey talk of Black Man Power."
This is a summary of lyrics from "Water No Get Enemy" by Fela Kuti.
I woke up this morning thinking about this song which I first heard at the biographical musical, Fela!, about the Nigerian musician and human rights activist. I went to see it twice--once in Houston and the following year in Dallas. It is a compelling bit of African history about a man who was inspired by the Black Power and Civil Rights movements in the U.S. to stand up to Nigeria's corrupt, oppressive government in the seventies.
His message "Water Get No Enemy" is so powerful in this song where he alludes to the work oppressed people must do to win fair treatment and justice. If water kills your child, you will drink it, cook with it and bathe with it the same day. Water makes no enemy. Nobody rejects water because it is too useful. Anyone who challenges water risks looking like a fool or death. Water is undeniably powerful. Relentless. Essential. Indispensable.
Here is the performance video of the song from the musical:
The second time I went to see Fela! I was with my best friend. She's a brainy academic and on our way back to the car, she was all I wanna research and read more about him and his story. I want to know more. At the time I was enriched by what I had learned about him from the shows and happy to leave it at that. Still, months after the second show, I listen to his music and watch youtube videos and remember the details from the musical and they stay with me. Now, like my bestie, I want to know more too.
Aside: I actually look forward to reading the autobiographies of Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, and an interesting biography of Jesus. I'm intrigued by people who were so bold during times when boldness was life-threatening. I digress.
Of course Wikipedia is the natural way to read a snapshot biography, so that's done. I also found this neat archive of programs and artiles on NPR related to Fela Kuti and Afrobeat music. I havent perused it yet, but plan to return to the link when I have time. Finally, here is a short list of books that I hope will satisfy my curiosity about Fela Kuti. Hopefully you will find them useful too:
Seventeen years together--12 in holy matrimony. In case you missed it, THIS is STILL what it feels like to be with someone for this lone. Bliss, blisters and all. We keepin' it movin'. Love and light, y'all. Love and light.
I ran across an article announcing that a new female rap artist named Azealia Banks has her own MAC lipstick color now. Having never heard of Azealia Banks, I googled her and watched a few videos. She's pretty and cool and quirky and raps about what you would expect a black female rapper to rap about…expensive things, her rap game take-over and the quality of her nana, peppered with a little aggression and desire to commit violence. You know, all the things I use to loathe about rap music in general. Nicki Minaj came along and singlehandedly made me a fan of this type of rap music. Specifically hers--the whole Black Barbie thing was irresistible because serious, who doesn't want to be a black barbie? So because of Nicki Minaj, I'm open to getting to know Azealia Banks.
I was happy to see another person getting shine other than Nicky Minaj. Love Nicki, but she was getting a verse on every other hot song on the radio for a minute. So when I read about Azealia, I was hopeful. Then I saw that she and Nicki were supposed to tour together and I was like, wow, these women are actually going to get along and be like rap BFFs. I was so looking forward to Nicki and Azealia's individual brands of quirk and awesome coming together to create quirk and awesome greatness. I had hopes of them doing songs together like Kanye and Jay Z. I think Kanye and Jay Z's professional bromance is a beautiful thing. They happily share the spotlight when they could easily and justifiably throw shade. I thought the women would embrace their fierceness and give each other their props. Apparently, though, it is not to be. I read that Azealia dropped out of Nicki's tour and some words were exchanged via Twitter. They seem like those women who claim they don't have female friends because ALL other females are jealous of them.*sigh*
The boys play so well together. Why can't the rap girls just get along? Is beef a requirement for PR before their debut albums drop? Why can't female rap artists coexist?
On this first one, my guess is maybe I'm a bit too free with stranger-danger warnings. Obviously...
His two closest friends moved to different states within two weeks of each other. I think he has a few things to work out...
I heard this song on the radio the other day. Smote. In music and film, if there is a good dose of lamenting, I am SO in. This song starts out with Gotye remembering when love went from hot to cold. By the time he gets to the chorus he's all emotional like, but you didn't have to cut me off--acting like we were nothing--I'm not even an ex, I'm just somebody you use to know. Then Kimbra comes in basically like, you were an ass and now you're complaining--get over yourself. Then he's all, I know but I'm just sayin', I don't want to get back together, but that was harsh...
"But you didn't have to cut me off
Make out like it never happened and that we were nothing
And I don't even need your love
But you treat me like a stranger and that feels so rough"
I ran across the Glee performance.
I love that the song here is interpreted as a song between brothers--(random bit of trivia)Gotye, apparently, did not.
I love this Beyonce fan's videos! Just discovered him on a post by Madame Noire. His name is Kid Fury and he is too funny. I'm such a big fan, and loved all 8:21 of this video. I lol'd for real.
Beyonce fans will enjoy this.
I like her. Apparently she's been around for a minute. I'm not hip, so maybe I'm a little late here. I first saw her name on some versus Rihanna thing a gossip blogger posted a few days ago. I googled her and found this video. Her vibe seems really positive and fun--like she's not trying to prove anything to anyone or be anything in particular. After watching this video, I think she's refreshing.
The first time I heard her song, "Jar of Hearts", was on Glee, when Rachel sang it at prom to Finn. I remember thinking how perfect the song was for them and how much I love how the Glee kids over-sing dramatic songs with their faces. They open their mouths as wide as possible and keep the most distressed look in their eyes. I love it.
After that, I heard it on the radio and it plays almost every time I'm in my car. So often, in fact, that my four year old knows and loves the whole song. I live...live... to hear him sing the chrous of that song.
Today, for the first time, I googled the video to see what it was like and have fallen in love with this girl. Christina Perri.
I watched lots of videos on her youtube page and am an instant huge fan! I love her hair, her tattoos, her voice. The video for "A Thousand Years " makes me almost want to see the Bella and Edward vampire movies. I have an iTunes gift card that I've had since last fall. I'm totally buying Chrstina Perri's music.
A while ago, this song showed up on my Spotify list. I would skip it when I saw the graphic, because I saw the name Flo Rida, knew it was rap, and wasn't in the mood for rap.
Recently, the hook has been playing on some commercial. I can't recall the commercial because my husband is the one in our house who actually watches television in real time and sits through commercials. Usually when he's watching TV, I'm not. So I don't know what the commercial is, but I have been walking around singing it non-stop for days.
I decided to google it to hear the whole song and I love it. It almost makes me want to google to see what other songs Flo Rida sings. It's a kinda bizarre video, because he looks so tough, but is doing corny stuff. Anywho, I'm loving the hook and the uplifting and, let's face it, quite manic lyrics. They make me smile.Happy Monday!
I ran across this online today. It's a popular Venezuelan song asking the painter why he only paints white angels. It is very powerful in English. Beautiful performance too.
"Painter, if you paint with love, paint me..." This song was performed in 1953.