August 3, 2009

Dear Anonymous Internet filled with Nonexistent Readers,

In a shocking turn of events, my life has gotten busy. Not school busy, or please cut my head off now I have four meetings and six papers to tend to and all I want to do is sleep, but more like pleasantly occupied. I have 39 days left in the summer, and August has decided to let loose a string of friends returning and/or crawling out of the woodwork, books to read, attics to go through, concerts to attend, albums to listen to, and odds and ends.

One thing that I've noticed is that despite the fact that it's nice to sit at home with my mom and drink a glass of wine, there's something that's simultaneously exciting and comfortable about knowing that you have many days of plans ahead of you. The end of last week was really busy, and though I can't be bothered to write out a narrative that would probably be boring anyway, I will, for your anonymous and/or nonexistent benefit, list some of the highlights:

+ 50s wear, diners, and drive-ins
+ I wore red lipstick for the first time!
+ mosquito bites
+ We listened to Love Story five times in the car?
+ terrible movies based on melodramatic books about cancer
+ Pokemon figurines
+ temporary tattoos of wizards
+ GIANT SMARTIES (that's right -- I said GIANT. SMARTIES.)

Now, dear imagination reader, here comes the point when you realize my real motives in life. This is when you finally get to know me beyond vague references to me being a vegetarian or slowly discerning which family members I do or do not possess. This is where we get to know each other (or we would if you were real). This summer, I care about little else but music, and the chefs d'oeuvre are going to concerts. Earlier in the summer I saw Chali 2na, a member of Jurassic 5, and last Saturday I went to the Newport Folk Festival. I like lots of different kinds of music, but I'm slowly realizing that folk has a special place in my little crazy heart. This. festival. was. awesome. And now, I am going to tell you about it.

I got there and caught the end of Tao Rodriguez Seeger's show. There's someone I want to see more of! He's only previously released albums with his band, but I think I saw somewhere that he's going to release a solo album soon. I will be getting it. After that I wandered over to the main stage and saw the Avett Brothers. I'd never heard them before, but I read an article about them in the Boston Globe (a spotlight because of their appearance at the festival) and I really enjoyed their performance. They had a cool mix of instruments -- guitar, banjo, cello, and upright bass -- and some really beautiful songwriting. My favorite of the set was "the Ballad of Love and Hate." I bought their album Emotionalism for my friend Rochelle for her birthday, but I was so excited about it that I may or may not have opened it so I could listen to it. Now she doesn't have to open the anti-theft wrapping?

After the Avett Brothers I had a choice: Gillian Welch or Mavis Staples? The dilemma was solved with a plan to see the first half of Gillian Welch and then the end of Mavis Staples. Unfortunately, I got so distracted by the former that I completely forgot to leave on time for the latter: good thing there are recordings of all the performances online? Gillian Welch, though, really deserved attention, especially because I hadn't listened to any of her stuff before. After asking the sound booth to "put her in the bat cave" with reverb, she did a beautiful version of White Rabbit. Her closing performance of I'll Fly Away was also amazing.

Acts that I was familiar with included Fleet Foxes and Iron & Wine. Despite their limited releases, Fleet Foxes put on a good show -- their music was impressive and so were their beards. Iron & Wine (with competition only from Gillian Welch) was the best act of the day, the highlight being a never before heard song towards the end of the set.

Other than the music, two things happened to me at the folk festival that I want to talk about. No, neither of these things is the outrageous sunburn that I have. I definitely don't want to talk about that, especially because the purchase of my Avett Brothers album and my Fleet Foxes t-shirt are the only factors in my lack of sunscreen. The first was a comment that Gillian Welch made during her set -- she said that those watching her were her "kind of people." My friends and I were talking about what it would be like to be a musician to have fans that weren't your kind of people (Nirvana syndrome, anyone?) Now, since I haven't any blog readers, I am at liberty to imagine an audience that is exactly the way I want it, leaving me free of an ending involving Courtney Love conspiracy theories.

Blog readers, if you ever present yourselves, I hope you are the type of blog readers that understand sarcasm, even when I don't use a silly fake html tag to indicate its presence (see: [/sarcasm]). I hope you are the kind of people that like to talk about pie and folk and Miyazaki films. I hope you are the variety of souls that catch and appreciate a good Lord of the Rings joke (see left -- I found this one during finals spring term) and like to hear things about stars. I hope you never leave a comment that begins with "You're so awesome," because people who are arrogant enough to blog about their lives need to hear that a little less often [I accept full responsibility of my ego and release all parties from legal liability in the case of injury], and I hope you NEVER leave a comment that starts with "Your so awesome." The reason for this should be obvious, I think. Don't you agree, nonexistant -- and now, in my imagination, ridiculously nerdy -- blog readers?

The other thing that caused me to think a little was a conversation that I had with someone who I had previously considered to be an acquaintance. We were sitting in the Newport sun (which was slowly burning me to a crisp) and just talking about music, and this girl tells me that we should hang out more this summer. This is, of course, a seemingly innocuous comment, but it made me think. I consider myself to be pretty much done with my hometown. I have a running countdown of days until I go back to school, and I'm really only home this summer to spend one last stretch of time living with my family and seeing my three closest friends. Maybe, though, there's more to be had with a little effort.

Well, cloud of readers (now for some reason I'm picturing you all as the Vashta Nerata from that episode of Doctor Who -- please don't eat my flesh you tiny piranhas of the air!), after recieving much abuse in the form of comparing you to Tron Man -- who is apparently from Minnesota! The wonders that state produces! -- and then turning you into flesh eating shadows, I am finally going to run off and look through my dad's old record collection. I hope that you aren't too upset, you adorable figments of my imagination. There, are we better now?

But I called you adorable!

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