reileen: (music - proofread score)


I went with my friend Melissa to see a live performance of Vienna Teng for the third year running that I almost forgot I was going to go see because I haven't been paying close attention to the passing of the days. We had a quick dinner at Clark's Diner off the Belmont Red Line, and then since we had a ton of time to kill and the weather was wonderfully cooperative, we walked the couple of blocks straight down Belmont to the tavern.

Vienna was playing with percussionist Alex Wong, who is a music deity in his own right. I swear, a few more extra arms and legs and that man could play an entire orchestra. Instruments he played during this performance included standard drums, the glockenspiel, the waterphone, the guitar, and the...shit, I forget the name, but it's like a small keyboard with a mouthpiece. And he has a really nice voice as well. The combined awesome of him and Vienna together on stage was so overwhelming that I'm surprised that the place didn't collapse from that much epicness gathered in that tiny tavern.

Highlights? What, you want me to just pick out a few moments? Oh, fine:

*As I mentioned before, Vienna performed three new songs here: In Another Life, Antebellum, and Grandmother Song. The first two were, of course, brilliant (because it's Vienna, durrr), but Grandmother Song took it to an entirely new level. She sang it only with Alex accompanying on varied percussion, as she stood at a microphone and...how shall I describe it...she acted the song, which was from the POV of her grandmother giving a speech to her about her choice of a career. The music is great, but you really do have to see this woman acting the song. Vienna once said that she felt more at home in the studio than in live performances, but when I hear her live recordings and - even more - when I see her live, I'm often reminded that her recordings tend to fail to capture the immense presence and energy she has in-person.

*We now have what I am currently calling the Reuben's Sandwich Remix of "I Don't Feel So Well", which was inspired by the fact that, when Vienna and Alex took the Lake Express boat from...I forget where it was, they were either headed to or coming from Milwaukee and I can't remember the other destination...but at any rate, they got on the Lake Express because they thought it would be a nice, scenic way to get around. Except that Alex got seasick not long into the ride after eating some crappy sandwiches. So this remixed version of the song (by the way, I adore the live performances of this song for the jazzy piano improv) includes these changes to the lyrics:

Reuben's sandwiches are no good
I thought that you should know, I thought that you should know that
Reuben's sandwiches are no good
I thought that you should know before you fall

I saw it begin to dawn on us both
And somehow it wasn't surprising
And so you're preparing to swear every oath
But all the while, I'm realizing

I don't like the Lake Express
I thought that you should know, I thought that you should know that
I don't like the Lake Express
I thought that you should know before you fall

...it's probably funnier if you hear it, but what the hey. If I manage to get a recording of this song later, I'll post it.

*Vienna played "Harbor" as a birthday dedication to me! I was surprised - I'd mentioned the proximity of the performance date to my birthday in a post on the forums, but when one of the other forumites offered to shout out a dedication for me, I declined. So either someone went and tipped her off despite me turning down the offer, or she just happens to keep up on her forums. No one yet has taken credit for telling her about my birthday, so I'm going to assume that she is just so awesome that she keeps up with what her fans talk about at the forums. *glee* And I find it interesting that she chose "Harbor"...I know that there's probably no real reason for her deciding on it besides "Well, hey, I've got a birthday dedication and this is one of the happier songs I've got", but to hear that particular song for me at this point in my life means more than I can express, and the song itself has taken on new meanings for me. I guess this probably also means I should really finish mastering the vocals for it...

*I found out when I went to talk to her after the show that she's aiming for her next album to be released on February 6th next year. Mark your calendars, all ye that be interested! Even if the date changes, at least we've got one to fixate on for the moment!

***

I'm headed out on a roadtrip to Canuck-side Niagara Falls with the family for the weekend. I'm...not sure what to expect. I'm mildly miffed because that means I can't immediately get at the next Weekly Jump chapters for Gintama or Majin Tantei Nougami Neuro (a series that I really need to write about soon in this journal - both the anime and the manga). I can deal with missing Gintama, because the "WHAT ARE YOU DOIIIINNNG SORACHIIII D:!!!"-inducing events seem to have quieted down in the current arc, but Neuro's seriously going to pwn Genuine's ass in this week's chapter of MTNN and I want a front-row seat to the smackdown. I BET HER BLOOD WILL TASTE LIKE SPARKLY CANDY Daaah. I'm debating on whether I want to bring my laptop with me so that I can check e-mail and sites. But I probably won't, because 1) my parents will probably bitch me out for it and 2) I have a huge-ass laptop anyway that's not very ideal for carrying around. And it's not like I can use it for working on my writing either, because I found out the hard way (working on a philosophy final paper the morning of the day it was due on the way back to the campus from home in my dad's car) that I will get hellishly, fiendishly carsick.

Still, I'll probably end up bringing a few books to read (not necessarily in the car) and a notebook to doodle or to scribble in.

***

In other good news, I managed to get my scholarship back, even though I wrote the letter of appeal for it only two days ago! Here's to hoping I can make this school year worth it.

***

"Fallen Goddess" still isn't behaving for me. I have the lyrical melody, and I can play a rough accompaniment from the second chorus all the way through to the end, but I'm not happy with it. Myuuuu. I think I'll probably leave it and muck around with simple instrumental piano melodies, or practice old classical favorites of mine...

-Reileen
I know the border lines we drew between us
reileen: (music - proofread score)
Vienna Teng updates her scrapbook with a short update on the status of her 4th album, song recommendations, insights from other musicians about their creative processes, and a beautiful instrumental loop she composed a while back that mixes the ethereality of "Drought" with a vaguely islandic-sounding beat.

It's simultaneously inspiring and de-motivating (if that's the correct term).

-Reileen
this is my elegy
reileen: (music - proofread score)
Vienna Teng has just finished shooting a music video for "Gravity."

omg.

OMG.

*explodes with So Much Glee!*

Scroll down here to find frames taken from the raw footage.

And then, from a later page on that forum: In the epic struggle between man and piano...there will always be a woman taking pictures. Yeah, they dragged a fully-loaded upright piano over mud, sand, and driftwood for this shoot. No empty traveling piano for Vienna.

Another point of interest from the forum:

>will this music video be available online later?

Absolutely Zak. The label is waiting to see it before they decide the promotion strategy they'll use for it. Although nothing is set in stone, the indications now are that the video will be given a widespread on-line release as a means to get as much attention for Vienna as possible. The song itself is from her first album rather than being a new release. It has enormous popularity among her fan base and is among the most frequent requested by audiences at her concerts. She also played a version of it when she was on Letterman. Since this is her first video, the idea is to leverage the song's popularity while also providing a good vehicle to attract first-time listeners to her music.

Also, Vienna told me that she is on a separate label in Europe and they have expressed great interest in the video too. There may be different strategies by the two labels. My guess is that when it's released you'll see a low-res version on YouTube and the various music sites with a high-res version for sale on iTunes. If the response is good it will be likely that there will be production of a new video for one of the singles on her upcoming album (again, this is only my estimation based on the information I've been given).

When she played her impromptu concert here at Huckleberry Hill she played a couple completed new songs and some portions of works in progress. Although I'm obviously biased, I honestly believe the new album is going to be phenomenal based on those samples. I personally lobbied her to push the new song "Kansas," which was stunningly beautiful and, in my opinion, the equal of "Gravity." I'm a native of the state and for years I've kept a mental index of locations that are evocative of the beauty and desolation many people aren't aware can be found there. Vienna lit up at the suggestion because they drove through that very part of the state during her recent tour and she thought at the time that some of that landscape would be perfect for a video.

Obviously, you never know in this damn industry what will happen, but both Vienna and her management have expressed enthusiasm for the footage we've shown them from the shoot and seem sincere when they say they want to have us produce the next one. Given my strong feelings about growing up in Kansas it would be a real dream to be able to take a crew "home" to shoot a video for her eponymous song. Besides, I know where the best pool halls and bowling alleys are :)

Dude. Official music video. For Vienna Teng.

OH MY FUCKING GOD YAY.

-Reileen
these are the scars that silence carved on me
reileen: (general - strawberry)
So this guy tore apart a school bus to make a Victorian RV and ripped apart a $300 Dell monitor to make it match his steampunk keyboard.

I think we're going to have to add "steampunk" to my list of favorite aesthetics now, because, uh, hello awesomesauce.

If I ever make enough money to be able to really, really customize a living space, it's going to end up as this weird hodgepodge of cute Harajuku schoolgirl, sleek cyberpunk, Victoriana steampunk, mysterious gothic mansion, Renaissance fantasy, and ancient China and Japan. DON'T MAKE ME CHOOSE JUST ONE.

***

Can't seem to find my voter registration card. It's on my table somewhere, I'm just not sure exactly where considering that there's always a million and ten things on my table at any given time. I shall have to unravel this mystery soon, for the Illinois primaries are on February 5th and I must needs show my support for Barack Obama.

Speaking of Obama, I found out via another member at the VT forums that Vienna Teng started writing "Stray Italian Greyhound" not long after attending a Barack Obama rally: the song is "a reflection of being almost un-willingly inspired by hope and optimism sort of in spite of one's comfortable cynical, jaded attitude." Damn straight I can dig that!

***

No, I couldn't bring myself to watch Bush's State of the Union address last night. I did, however, dig up the full transcript today to read through it (there was a partial transcript on Yahoo!News by the AP that I read last night, though).

Reileen's Amateur Thotz, now in special bulleted list form!

  • I'm curious as to what Bush defines as "bloated" or "wasteful" programs.

  • I love how Bush mentions 9/11 but doesn't mention Hurricane Katrina. AGAIN.

  • I also love how Bush mentions that America is "leading the fight against global poverty" when our own economy is, from what little I can understand, going down the shitter.

  • I really, intensely dislike this paternalistic, jingoistic undercurrent that's running through this particular State of the Union. Apparently America is leading the fights against global poverty, global hunger, and disease, and it's also a "force of hope in the world because we are a compassionate people." Look, I understand that America is comparatively better-off and more powerful than many other countries (I'm possibly understating to leave room for error and shortsightedness), but making America out to be this sort of "firebringer" doesn't sit very well with me. It doesn't inspire me; it just makes me feel like there's something deceptive going on.

  • And a closing word directed at the Shrub himself: If you're going to keep going on and on about "trusting the people", you might want to repeal the Patriot Act. Yeah, that thing.


-Reileen
and all the static rolls around me
reileen: (music - proofread score)
From her scrapbook.


Stray Italian Greyhound
by Vienna Teng


oh no not now
please not now
I just settled into the glass half empty
made myself at home
and so why now
please not now
I just stopped believing in happy endings
harbors of my own

but you had to come along didn’t you
break down the doors, throw open windows
oh if you knew just what a fool you have made me

so what do I do with this?

this stray Italian greyhound
these inconvenient fireworks
this ice-cream-covered screaming hyperactive thought
god I just want to lay down
these colors make my eyes hurt
this feeling calls for everything that I am
not

I’m not that kind
I’m so good at shooting down any notion
this tired world could change
it’s all been bought
or at least that was my line
no use in spending all that emotion
when there’s someone else to blame

but you had to come along didn’t you
rev up the crowd, rewrite the rule book
where do I go when every ‘no’ turns into ‘maybe’

so what do I do with this?

this sudden burst of sunlight
and me with my umbrella
cross-indexing every weatherman’s report
I was ready for the downslide
but not for spring to well up
this feeling calls for everything I can’t afford
to know
is possible now

what do I do
with a love that won’t sit still
won’t do what it’s told
what do I do
with a love that won’t sit still

***

Wow, Vienna's lyrical style has...changed and yet stayed the same. I really, really love these lyrics. The sentiments expressed in those turns of phrases! It sets my fangirlish heart all a-flutter. Rotkehlchen on the VT boards has a pretty good interpretation of the song: "an optimistic End of Drought disguised as an I Don't Feel So Well hangover." Hee. And given that Valentine's Day a.k.a. Singles' Awareness Day is coming up, the song is rather apropos.

Too bad I won't be able to hear the musical accompaniment unless Vienna decides to play live here in the Chi again prior to releasing a new album. She's already performed this song live a couple of times already, but the policy is that no live recordings of any studio-intended songs are to be circulated until that song is officially released on an album. So unless she decides that maybe she doesn't want to work on this song in the studio, I shall have to be patient.

...damn, I really want to use this song as a theme for a character! It really feels like it should be someone's theme.

-Reileen
this place feels so unfamiliar, and yet I know it well
reileen: (Default)
Oh gods I love the VT forums.

Posted by Rotkehlchen is this rather ingenious reinterpretation of some of Vienna Teng's song titles:

x^^n

mv

GmM/r^2 [less anthropocentric than 9.8m/s^2]

I|I

printf("uncle")

void(0)

type #1.txt>nul

10n+1


E=hv [can anyone make BBCode do Greek characters?]

F G C


>40

if(!u){i=null;}

IiI

R--


I personally like "if(!u){i=null;}" and "type#1.txt>nul"...

***

WHO'S A GINTAMA FANGIRL? WHO'S A GINTAMA FANGIRL? THAT'S RIGHT, [livejournal.com profile] reileen IS!

Seriously, this series is amazing. The American equivalent would be like if The Simpsons were set in colonial America and then the aliens from Futurama invaded and took over. Oh, and you'd have to do something about the art, of course. And either Bart or Homer would have to up their badass factor. By eleventy gazillion. And Maggie would have to age by like a decade and be able to wield a wooden umbrella with enough force to send people into next millennium.

I don't even know if I can try to do a proper review for this series because I love it so damn much. The series' creator, Hideaki Sorachi, is a sneaky little bastard, because he gets you to love the characters by virtue of their humorous interactions with each other, and then he'll stab you in the heart with wibble-tastic moments like in episodes 31 and 32. Also, what the fuck is copyright? If it's out there (well, if it's well-known in Japan), Gintama has parodied it. But what can you expect from a series whose name is a pun on a well-known Japanese metaphor for a man's family jewels - and whose creator chose it for that very reason? To quote the main character, Gintoki Sakata: "If my name were 'Kintoki' we wouldn't be able to use my name for this series!" I should also warn that neither Sorachi nor Sunrise (the animation studio who does Gintama) care about a fucking fourth wall. The fourth wall takes such a beating in this series that even a seasoned masochist like Sacchan would run away screaming at the thought of it. BUT OH GODS IT'S SO GOOD, IT FEELS SO GOOD.

Viz has released a couple of the manga volumes in English already, but I've not heard any news of an official dub. Not that I blame anyone, since dubbing around some of the Japanese-specific puns and jokes would be such a pain in the ass. But thank the Gods that Crunchyroll's got some subs! It's not up-to-date on the Japanese airings (which is at about episode 88 now or so), and the episodes here go up to 45, and then skip to 51 and 52, and then skip again to 62 and one last time to 66. No, I know not why the caged bird sings, but there you go. Go have a ball...so to speak. Heh, heh, I said "ball".

(Disclaimer: THIS IS ALL [livejournal.com profile] kiirobon'S FAULT. I SWEAR I'M INNOCENT.)

-Reileen
curls flying every which way
reileen: (music - proofread score)
Three hours or so in the practice rooms today have yielded to me the secrets of Vienna Teng's "Whatever You Want" - I can now perform the entire piece, albeit a little haphazardly and wildly off-key. But the basis is there, and at least the beginning part is pretty much set for me, which was what I'd first figured out of the song anyway, last week. It's a ridiculously fun and addictive song to play...which is rather appropriate, considering it's a ridiculously fun and addictive song to listen to, even though the lyrics are about a marriage that's breaking up because the husband is a h0r to his work.

On the other hand, I've still got a couple more listening activities to do for Japanese, and boy oh boy am I behind like a mother-fucker on my animation project. Also, art history paper due next Tuesday that I totally haven't started yet even though I must've had at least three weeks. At least I now own the DVD for the movie that we're supposed to write about: three huzzahs for Amazon.

It's also really sad that I seriously have to consider taking up citizenship in Japan later in life because the state of our nation appears to have gotten frighteningly bad and I can't flee to Mexico or Canada 'cause Uncle Sam's got extradition agreements with them that prevent Americans from escaping American jurisdiction in either of those two countries.

But for now, I shall flounce off to take a shower before settling in with a Dew or ten and working at whatever it is I need to do.

As a final word: Sheridan Prasso's The Asian Mystique basically amounts to "NOMG AZNZ R PPL 2!!!111ichi!!!"

-Reileen
she's alone again
reileen: (music - proofread score)
Tonight I went to see the musical goddess Vienna Teng perform at Schuba's Tavern. It was my second time seeing her live, but the magick of watching her at the piano keyboard was no less worse for the passage of time, and in fact seemed ten times better than I remembered seeing her. The "strings ladies" Marika Hughes and Dina Maccabee were there, along with newcomer Alex Wong on percussion. I think the addition of Alex Wong really lent an amazing rock-ish flavor to Vienna's songs that was really, really refreshing and completely made of awesomesauce.

But as I was standing in the back watching the performance, there was a phantom taste stinging at the inside of my mouth. A taste of longing to be where Vienna was, rocking out my original songs on that Yamaha keyboard, sharing funny stories with the audience that's hanging onto your every word, every note like it was a rope thrown to you as you're drowning in the middle of a roiling ocean. I wanted to be where she was so badly that I wanted to cry.

I want to do what Vienna does. No, not just that - I want to do more than that, because I can. Or I think I can.

I want to be that touring musician with a great band to perform with. But I also want to be that artist who exhibits at odd little galleries and Artist Alleys. And I also want to be that best-selling author who signs copies of her novels at Borders and gets asked to do panels at conventions or things like that.

These are such silly little things to whine over, I know. Greater dreamers than I have wasted away into obscurity, their hard work little more than dusty invisible footnotes. But it's been a shitty quarter for me in a million and one ways, and while seeing Vienna* was something that didn't disappoint, it ended up reminding me of my beloved, impossible pies in the sky that seem even more out of reach now.

-Reileen
'cause you're everywhere to me



*I was also glad that Vienna liked the gift that I brought for her. Originally I was going to get her socks, as per the inside joke on the forums, but I thought she might be sick of them, so I got her this instead. I also got her a bracelet depicting various shots of buildings in Chicago on each segment, which she put on after she dug it out of the plastic bag (and which I assume she probably also took off for the second performance that night...which I couldn't go to because I was under 21, dammit).
reileen: (music - proofread score)
It appears that music muse is, once again, drifting away from me, most likely attracted to more promising and polished prospects than I to satisfy her wanton needs. She was, however, nice enough to leave me with most of the melody for the opening riff of Vienna Teng's "Momentum," along with a couple of possible chords that, if arranged in the right order, will fit together as neatly as a jigsaw puzzle.

I said once in a comment to another friend of mine that anyone who wanted to court me would have to contend with three other constant suitors: art, writing, and music. I neglected to mention that these suitors are more fickle than rainbow stains upon oil puddles.

-Reileen
my body lies, but still I wander

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Reileen van Kaile

April 2010

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