Monday, November 10, 2014

Pina Bausch
German choreographer Pina Bausch is considered to be seen as both influential and controversial. Although she is from Germany and trained in New York, her sensibility is still firmly European in the visions of a dark, brooding and tension-filled world her theatre depicts. I chose to share Pina because she is one of the few creators who have transformed the arm form in which they work. Rather than just sticking to the performance aspect of dance and the shapes and other dynamics of dance, she pushes dance into a different, more complex and abstract direction. Her pieces explore the inhumanity of men and women towards each other and their surroundings, and shows the different interactions between the individuals. I love that she isn't afraid to step outside of the box and admire her willingness to dare and challenge her dancers. Being a dancer personally, I've been asked to do things outside of my comfort zone or to explore a concept further during a number and I really respect the work that choreographers and dancers put into a number to convey a message to the audience. Her pieces are so unique from anything I've ever seen before- I envy those who've gotten to work with her or see her in action.  Her pieces can be brutal, aggressive, and physically and emotionally exhausting. Truly the honesty and rawness of her work is what makes her so compelling to me.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Jennifer Lopez

This webpage shares Jennifer's youth and how she came to rise to fame. It gives some information about her family background and where she grew up. Also, you can look at who she has married throughout the years.

This web page is Jennifer's personal website. On the website you can look up music videos that she recently released among other videos. Also on her website you can access recent news on her such as where she has performed lately and also you can get pictures.

This web page mainly talks about how many talents Jennifer Lopez really has. Besides just being a singer and dancer, she is an actress, fashion designer, and producer. While doing all these things she still manages to keep putting popular albums out in the music industry.

Jennifer Lopez was originally born and raised in the Bronx, New York. Living in a rather tough area, she had to really work for her career in the music industry. Not only can she sing in Spanish and English ( and have top charts with both), but she is also a talented dancer. She is inspiring to me because when she performs, you can really tell that she loves what she does and that she puts a lot of effort and heart into it. Not only does she do the "typical pop type of dance moves" but she also strives to stand out from the rest by dancing different styles of dance such as latin ballroom. On top of all this she has managed to stay in the music industry creating chart toppers and continually winning awards for many years.

Elliott Erwitt: Master of The Decisive Moment

Elliott Erwitt is a photographer known for his portraiture and ironic candid photography. He shot black and white film, that also being the most common mode of photography during his career. His studies in photography began when his family moved to the United States, though his career in photography stretches throughout the world. Working under many other well known photographers, as well as agencies like that of Magnum, Erwitt has made a large body of work that is unique in its style.

Being a photographer myself, I have found Erwitt's work to be rather influential for me. His ability to make a photograph at the perfect moment is nearly unparalleled. As coined by Henri Cartier-Bresson, the term "The Decisive Moment" describes the peak of action within a photograph. A moment earlier or later, and the photo would be less in meaning. Erwitt's ability to constantly produce a photograph at the perfect moment is something that I strive to achieve.

This is a link to Elliott Erwitt's personal website/portfolio. There is a large body of his work available to view or purchase.

This links to Magnum's website with photos made by Elliott Erwitt when he worked for Magnum.

This link has more of a description on "The Decisive Moment" as well as the man who coined the term, Henri Cartier-Bresson.

Sara Bareilles

by Kathryn Reid

I first heard Sara Bareilles's music on Pandora. I was in freshman year of high school and had been listening to mostly classical music and '80s hits in middle school. I was just starting to figure out what kind of songs I most enjoyed listening to. When I heard "Love Song", it really resonated with me. It's the kind of song that made me dance crazily around the kitchen, swinging my hair everywhere when I had to empty the dishwasher and "Love Song" came on the radio. I think what appeals to me the most about Barielles are the "no-nonsense", blunt, quality of her lyrics in songs like "Fairytale" and "Bottle it Up". Her music also lead to me to other artists that I really enjoy, like Lily Allen and Vanessa Carlton.

Web Pages

Sara Bareilles - Biography - Singer, Pianist, Songwriter -

This page gives a brief overview of Bareilles's life, from her childhood to current success. It mentions her top albums and songs, as well as what led to her success. 

Sara Bareilles | New Music and Songs | MTV

This site has videos of Barielles's latest music, as well as interviews. There is a brief blurb of her life and a timeline of her fame. You can also view her music and see other artists like her on this site.

Sara Bareilles - IMDb

IMDb has a list of all of the movies and television that her music has appeared in. Among the television shows her music has appeared in are Glee, Dancing with the Stars, and the Vampire Diaries.

Eric Whitacre: the future of choral music


I was privileged enough to grow up in a small community with a large emphasis on the arts, and with that came exposure to incredible musical material; in particular, the work of Eric Whitacre. Learning and performing his creations is something to be remembered; both in uniqueness and difficulty. He has an ability to capture some of the most abstract sounds and chord progressions one may ever hear, and throughout a song will take the listener from confusing abnormality to understandable resolution. There are moments throughout some of his pieces where a single chord will be divided into up to eighteen different parts, and for all of that to be done intentionally is mind blowing. Incredible depth and talent coming from a guy who aspired to be a rock star for most of his early life.
 A piano player throughout his childhood, this Grammy Award winning artist wasn't even able to read music until his twenties, when he was inspired upon performing 'Mozart's Requiem' for the first time. At that moment he knew he wanted to compose. From there he become musically literate, earned his bachelors in music, later earned his masters from Julliard, and has been making a name for himself ever since.
Whitacre not only pushes the boundaries of choral, orchestral, and symphonic music, but has gone even further by assuring that this art form is preserved and shared with others on a mass level. He has taken to the web to collaborate "virtual choirs" of individuals from all over the world; combining thousands of recordings to produce epic performances which can be accessed by anyone. He is most certainly a force to be reckoned with and will surely continue to impact the world of music in the upcoming years.
This site contains a full biography. Provided is information on musical history and current achievements, along with recordings and pictures. 
Thousands from all over the world have participated in the 'virtual choir'. This link will take you to the site of his most recent virtual endeavor, "Fly to Paradise."
 This site is a great archive of many compositions. All titles, run times, and years of release are listed.

Friday, November 7, 2014

                                                          Steve Aoki: "The Ultimate DJ"

This webpage is Steve's Aoki's official website. Where it is a center based for all information pertaining to Steve's Aoki. There are components like tour dates, photos, videos, music previews, Aoki funds and shop. In addition there are links (Itunes, Spotify, Beatport) that leads you to where you can purchase and download his musics.

This webpage is an online audio distribution for Steve's Aoki. Where it enables Steve's Aoki to upload, record, promote and share his originally-created soundtrack. The site is consider to be a promotional website for Steve's Aoki. Where in addition it allows fans to listen to all of the tracks and uploads from Steve's Aoki music. Having said so, there are currently about 3.3 million fans followers on the site.

Finally, this webpage is dedicated to both an biography of Steve's Aoki as well as news articles pertaining to his work, his involvement in both the music industry and community. In addition there are a list of his soundtrack listed, where users can purchase and download the music directly from the site.

DJ Steve Aoki was born in Miami, Florida and grew up in California. Where he had develop his ears for musics during his college years at the University of California, Santa Barbara. His ear for music was developed while attending college, where he produced a do it yourself records and thus ran an underground tech house concerts at the college. His ability to drop a party rocking beats style has quickly entertained crowds and gain the dance floor.

I find that Steve's Aoki work is compelling and interesting, thus are worth sharing. The reason is because not only is he a DJ (Electro House Musician), but the fact that he is also a record producer, and a club promoter. I find this interesting since he is able to manage his own work as well as performing at live shows. Another reason why I had chosen Steve's Aoki is because  not only am I already had an interest in techno, club type/style of music, what separate Steve's work from other electro house musician are the fact that Steve's work are unique in a way that could be describe as "energetic" and "entertaining" in both the music styles (beats) and how it was performed.


Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Neon, Belly dancer

Neon is a gifted New York City American Cabaret style belly dancer, teacher, choreographer, and the publisher of World Dance New York. She was born in Russia and moved to the United States, she's married and has one child. She spends a great deal of her time working on her belly dance instructional DVD's and producing shows in the New York city area. She is acclaimed for her fast track teaching method. She believes that dance should be taught through movement and always with music. It helps the body learn moves quicker and brings the muscle memory back quicker when you are improvising. Neon started dancing with another dancer named Jehan, and was featured in Jehan's work out DVD, Neon then broke out on her own and created the Instant Belly dance DVDs and the Belly dance crash course. She turned her attention to more formal dance training and created her own line of dance DVDs. As a dancer she is trained in all the dance arts but, she is most well known for dancing with a tray of lit candles on her head to pop songs as well as more traditional dance music. She says she has an idea for movement and makes the music fit her movement rather then fit her movement to the music.

This is Neon's main website. Interested parties can go here to see her latest video shoots, dance performance, apperences, and how to get in touch with her in order to book her for a show. The website is meant for people to get a small idea of what she has done and then there are links to her other pages, like Facebook, and twitter. Where she posts more frequently. 

This is a site dedicated to the entire dance family, under the World Dance NY name. DVD's, video, instructional streaming, and information about the stars. The site can help you find any form of dance you want, and has self defense and fitness tips as well. 

Neon and her best friend, and fellow dancer, Tanna Valentine's site. The site is dedicated to life's simple moments. The site has interviews about dance, videos, Neon's poetry, behind the scenes talks about dance. It is the go to for anyone wanting to see what being a belly dance star can do with her life. This site is important to hear Neon and Tanna's views about dance and allows you to get to know the two of them a little better. 

Tuesday, August 5, 2014


Jermaine Lamarr Cole is a hip hop icon in the making, gifted songwriter, and talented record producer. He was born January 28, 1985 with a southern soul from Fayetteville, North Carolina, a place he represents for 'til this day although he was originally born in Frankfurt, Germany. Cole has been in the rap scene since 2007 after he put out his firs official mixtape "The Come Up". His wildest dreams came true when hip hop icon Jay-Z showed interest in him, eventually signing him to one of the most sought out record labels Roc Nation in 2009. Since signing to Roc Nation Cole has put out two follow up mixtapes The Warm Up and Friday Night Lights and debuted his first charts hitting album Cole World: The Sideline Story which was followed by his even more successful album Born Sinner. Cole has been nominated fro many awards for his singles and has won a few awards so far which he is proud of being as new as he is to the music scene. 

As soon as J Cole dropped his first mixtape for teh world to hear I fell in love with the vibe of his music and the reality that he brings into the hip hop world that many other artist don't bring. J Cole's music for me is thereapuetic in the sense that it touches on some of the original hip hop which seems to have been lost overtime. His newest album Born Sinner definitely hold my favorite pieces from him and have guided me through times in my life that other avenues weren't able to. Last summer I went to my country Eritrea where I was grieving the loss of my father along with my family. There isn't much American music there and luckily J Coles album dropped the day before I left and I was able to download it onto my iPod. I played his album over and not only never got tired but found something new to enjoy every time I listened. His lyrics aren't the typical hip hop/rap lyrics heard today talking about women, money, and crime in misogynistic ways but it does touch on the reality of urban life tastefully and respectfully. What I also respect about him is that he uplifts his fans with positive music that tells a story of his life as well. For example, he created a song with a legendary group TLC called Crooked Smile and speak through his music about how appearance isn't everything and if there is something that's not perfect about ones appearance that they feel insecure about then they should embrace it and tell the world so what! Cole is a great performer live and stays true to himself and allows his fans to enter his world in order for them to get a more personal connection with him. He is extremely humble and has always payed what he has forward which makes me respect him more as a role model for young African Americans. One of my favorite lines that helps me remind myself that I am a human being that makes mistakes but that God is always by my side is, "I was born sinning but I'll die better then that, swear. You were always where I needed you t be whether you were there or not there". 

Crooked Smile (J Cole has been known for his uneven smiles but embraces it while leading his fans to embrace their imperfections as well.)

Official J Cole Music Page: 
This is J Cole's main music page. his is where people can go to see his latest music, all music from his past, read his lyrics, find out what he has been nominated and awarded for, where his next performance is and much more. This website is meant for his fans to be able to come and appreciate his music solely without having to go through all the opinions from blogs about what other people think. I chose this website because J Cole is first and foremost an artist and this page highlights just that.

J Cole and More:
This webpage is a one stop shop to find out everything that is going on with J Cole. It has information abotu his foundation, what he is doing in his music career, what is currently going on with his album, and much more. This page is meant for his fans to go if they want to kind of be nosy about what J Cole is saying in his interviews and who he is talking to. Also, this website includes some of the inside scoop of whats coming up that other media forums might not be privy to. 

J Cole Fan Tumblr:
This is J Cole's fan tumblr blog where his fans can interact and talk everything J Cole. I chose this site because what makes J Cole more than any other artist are his loyal fans. He may not be as large in the music industry as some of the big named artists today but his fans have always stayed loyal to him as he has to them. I think this website is a great place for people to remind J Cole that he is an amazing lyricist and that his music does touch them and change their lives in ways he doesn't know which may keep him going. 

Created by: Selina Simon

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Frida Kahlo--20th Century Painter

My interest in Frida Kahlo and her work started in Spanish class in high school when we learned about her. She was a painter in Mexico at the beginning of the 20th century and painted mostly self portraits. She stated, “I paint myself because I am so often alone and because I am the subject I know best”, which gives insight into her personality.  She had an interesting, and quite depressing life, getting in an accident as a child and having a roller coaster of a relationship with another Mexican artist, Diego Rivera. She also had a massive internal conflict with staying with her Mexican roots versus becoming more mainstream, shown in her work “The Two Fridas”. Her paintings are interesting to me because they align so perfectly with her real life struggles. It was obvious she was an intense person, driven by her mind, and it shows in her artwork. 

This is a general site about the artist Frida. It shows her biography as well as some of her most recognized paintings, with the years she made them. It gets into some of her political affiliations, which was very important in her life.

This is an extremely specific biography of Frida Kahlo, and would be helpful if you wanted to analyze her paintings so you could see what was happening in her life at the time the painting was created.

This is a very helpful website that showcases her most famous paintings. It’s awesome because if you roll over the paintings in different spots it will show you the significance of that detail in the painting that you are rolling over.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Shakira: The One and Only

Shakira is a highly gifted and moving human being. I chose the words "human being" with intent and not by coincidence, as she is tremendously skilled in several disciplines. My reverence for her began when I entered into my major at Western, which is Spanish. Shakira is fluent in Portuguese, Italian, English, Spanish and Arabic. This is honestly an art in itself. It is incredibly challenging to learn a second language. I have the utmost respect for Shakira due to this fact alone.

Shakira is undeniably a strong, female icon of the world. She was born and raised in Barranquilla, Colombia. Shakira has a rich heritage, as not only is she Colombian but also has Arabic roots. In fact, her name is of Arabic origin, which means "grateful" and "thankful."

Currently, Shakira continues to entertain her public eye all over the world (quite literally) and also is a judge of the popular show "The Voice." Soccer was truly the thing that "changed her life." This is a direct quote from Shakira and it could not be more true. Soccer was her door to success and it was also how she met her sweetheart, Girard Pique (who is an all star soccer player). In the years 2010 and 2014, Shakira performed for the FIFA World Cup. 

Most importantly, Shakira is a true at heart, philanthropist.  Although her "hips don't lie," she is way more than her renowned belly dancing and exterior. She is an advocate for children and their right to formal education. In 2011, she was appointed and recognized by President Obama to the President's Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for Hispanics. Shakira is one of Unicef's Goodwill Ambassadors. There are over 120 million children in the world without any formal education . As an ambassador, she works to increase access and resources for children. In addition, she is the head honcho of the "Pies Descalzos Foundation." This foundation works to improve the quality of life, health, nutrition, and education of children and their families. She created this foundation at the age of eighteen. Last but not least, Shakira is a member of the ALAS non- profit organization. This organization focuses on early education public policies in Latin America.
This is perhaps the most useful and compelling web page on Shakira. After all, it is her personal  homepage. There are photos, videos, current news, and additional links to view; the sky is truly the limit. This web page connects the viewer to Shakira's pinterest, twitter, and instagram accounts.
 This is a phenomenal web page because not only does it shed light on the specifics of who Shakira is, (where she was born and her involvement in education advocacy in Latin America for example)  but it also features a interview where she speaks personally about her ladder to success. While I was navigating around on this web page I stumbled upon a quote that was said by Shakira: "Of course I am trying to make my accent not bother anybody but I am not going to drive myself crazy to pretend I am an American girl when I am from Colombia." I think that this quote sums Shakira up in a nutshell. She isn't going to pretend like she is someone she clearly is not and what you see is what you get. I love that about her.
This is another web page that is equally significant. This web page has a more informal tone but is informative in nature because it is a "fun- fact" page about Shakira. In fact, there are fifty facts in all. From Shakira's favorite color to her journey to becoming fluent in English, this website is enlightening. 


Kaskade, or Ryan Raddon, is a DJ and producer from Chicago that I first started listening to last summer. I saw him at a music festival and had not listened to him before that. Although I knew none of his songs, he automatically pulled me in and it felt like I had heard all of his songs before. That set gave me feelings of nostalgia in ways that I had never felt from listening to any other artist. I feel that he is worth sharing because his music resonates deeply with many people that I know. He uses a variety of styles that can capture the attention of any listener, and can create thousands of emotions with just a few simple lyrics. Even without the lyrics, his music can put you in a trance and make you feel safe and at peace. When I go through hard times, I listen to him and his music reminds me that I am in control of my own happiness. His song “Room for Happiness” is one of my favorites. This one simple line “don’t be fooled by your emptiness, there is so much more room for happiness,” has genuinely helped me find peace in different situations. I know that house music is not for everyone, but I am sure that everyone can find at least one song that resonates with them and strikes emotions in ways they have never felt.

Get to know Kaskade...
Here are some links:

This link provides all of the information needed to know about Kaskade. It features a lengthy biography that explains his music, career path, background, and so on. This is where you can buy his music or download free tracks. You can also find all of the latest news, his tour dates, merchandise, photos, and videos.

Youtube is a great informative link for getting to know Kaskade because aside from listening to his music, you can see and experience his live shows. He does a variety of different shows, from festivals, to small shows, to “Redux” where he plays only his older music. You can also watch interviews and get to know his personality.

Soundcloud is the ultimate place to find Kaskade’s music. You can listen to his original songs, remixes by other artists, his own remixes, festival music, live sets, and more! You can also buy music from this site, as well as download free songs. 

I chose to feature Izumo Kato on my blog posting because I am very interested in the way he combines sculptures and paintings together as one, but also separately.  Izumo Kato in the past few years has started to gain more and more attention in the art world.  He uses interesting and unique methods of creating his art pieces so I thought it would be a learning experience to examine him for this blog posting.

This is an article about Izumi Kato from the "Wall Street International" but I thought it was very informative.  They described Kato's way of using interesting tools like spatulas and his fingers to create his pieces.  They also expressed that painting is like an extra-natural experience for Kato.

This website is interesting because like most others it includes Kato's works of art and his biography, but unlike other websites this one includes his auction results and events featuring Kato.

This was a pretty general website centered around Kato, but it features all of the important elements that are needed to understand his artwork like a biography, images, text, exhibitions and news.

Dark Was the Night - Cold Was the Ground

Blind Willie Johnson was born in born in Brenham, Texas in 1897. He wasn't born blind, some say his stepmother threw lye in his face after he told his father of her affair.

With simple slide guitar melodies matched to his solemn tenor or striking false bass voice, Johnson grips every bone and trembles them. The profoundly smooth blues riffs shudder the spine while Willie's voice conveys a longing beyond this world. Apt then that the Voyager spacecraft's Golden Record has Blind Willie's classic lyric-less Dark Was the Night - Cold Was the Ground on the first side.

This site contains information about Johnson's life as a musician including his upbringing, influences, and recording career.

Here is a website that provides information on Voyager 1, including the song list of 'Music from Earth' on the Golden Record.

This is an excellent example of Willie's  powerful voice, classic blues melodies, lasting lyrics, and beautiful harmonies.

Willie's music resonates with me because it is so naturally infused with and driven by his raw emotions. His eagerness for a better world, sadness at its state, and ecstasy at its beauty construct his music's core. Blind Willie conveys  the obvious but taken for granted truths in the universe, and he does it poetically and harmoniously with seemingly no effort.


Over the pass years I was unexpectedly introduced to a different type of music generally called "K-Pop". Which is weird to think about listening to songs that is in a different language and has a different style than the majority of the songs in America. Vixx is one of those bands that are unique and creative. Each song has their own story and style with dance moves that coordinates with the lyrics. So even if someone isn't able to understand Korean just watching their body movements is a way to translate the meaning of the song. When watching Vixx their dance moves are very sharp and precise, and along with their facial expression can leave one in awe after watching one video.

Vixx is a six member band with the leader being N, rapper Ravi, vocals Leo, Ken, Hyuk, and Hongbin. At the beginning of their debut in 2012 the leader N mention on a music talk show that he really didn't want to become an idol which shocked all the viewers. Soon later  his mind was changed when Vixx quickly became famous over the past 2 years, they were able to win 2 awards in South Korea and had performances on famous shows such as Music Bank and Show Champion. They also have concerts around the world including an upcoming one at K-con which is in California. ( I shall be attending the concert to see them! ). Their songs are able to captive their audiences, and their voices and looks seem to fit perfectly together. This group was selected to be together through the company so the members didn't know each other until training days before their first debut. After years past the group is now close friends with each other as seen on their show Vixx T.V, at the beginning there was a sense the awkwardness of the band, but if you were to watch the videos now you can see how close they are to each other.

The songs that Vixx performs have deeper meanings in their lyrics and have theme to each video. One of the recent songs that came out is called "Eternity" which is about how they wish that there dream about the one they love will last forever. In the music video they dance moves resembles a clock and their facial expression is able to convey the loneliness and sadness they feel as their dream is slipping away. Another music video is "Voodoo Doll" that sounds creepy but I think it is one of the most interesting ideas for a song. The lyrics are expressing that they love the person to such as extent that they are willing to act like a voodoo doll. Other words the girl they love treats them any way she wants and they are just accepting and going along with whatever she wants.

Vixx Voodoo Doll music video
As I mention above this is a link to the live version of "Voodoo Doll". The reason why I chose to the live version and not the music video is because in the video is the whole dance and close ups to show their intense facial expressions. Also, you will notice that all their movements are sharp to resmemble a voodoo doll being controlled, and when one of the members are pinned they all react in the same way. When you are done watching the video maybe search the same video with English sub-titles to have a deeper understanding.

Vixx Wikipedia
The wikipedia page has information on how the band was created and each reward that Vixx has won. There is a list of music videos and T.V programs where they were guest stars. Also, some of the members have side jobs as actors and has a list of dramas and shows of their performances.

Vixx Fan page
The fan page has information on each member which include their whole name and what position they have in the band. For each member there are interesting facts about them and you can get to know their personalities more.

Salvador Dali

This first website is a fairly straight forward biography on the great Salvador Dali. This shows his upbringing, his influences and some of his greatest works including The Persistence of Memory which may be his most renown piece of art. I enjoy this site because it shows his journey through life and how he evolved as a surrealist and it details his early life up to his death at the age of 84.

The above site is a great access point for Dali's surrealist paintings. He does so many paintings that display trickery to the eye which are so interesting and vivid to behold. Dali creates paintings in his paintings and in an 'Inception' style type of way. He has many optical illusions where he paints a face but in the face, other shapes or people are formed.

Although this is a Wiki site, it shows the great Dali with his surreal painting of just so many different objects and animals but all being connected somehow. It is odd and beautiful at the same time. Dream Caused by the Flight of a Bee Around a Pomegranate a Second Before Awakening is enough to describe the painting itself.

All in all, Dali became my favorite artist by accident. My college roommate had multiple posters of paintings by Dali and I happened to stare at them every day over the course of the year. Dream Caused by the Flight of a Bee Around a Pomegranate a Second Before Awakening was so intricate and detailed yet simplistic enough to view with a naked eye and see the different optical illusions it presented. To this day, I still don't understand his art to its full potential but I embrace his surrealist paintings with an open mind and they never cease to impress me.

A young H. R. Giger at work on a mural entitled "Hierogliphics."

Please click on the above link and then click on 'Home' in the middle of the page and you will find my original blog that did not post here for whatever reason. These pictures give you an idea of some of Giger's amazing work. Thank you :)

 This is a picture of the alien design that won Giger an Academy Award in 1980, and the work known mostly by mainstream society.

 This is a picture of some of the incredible sculptural work in one of the 'Giger bars.' Absolutely stunning architectural work as well in these bars.

This is one of my favorite pieces of Giger's. The design, detail, hues, contrasts, form, and content are arresting to me. I had seen Alien, but I did not know the creature was created by a man with so much artwork already permeating the art scene. I was working in Los Angeles, CA in 1991 and the bookstore I was managing got in copies of Giger's Necronomicon. I became a fan that day.

Please return to the top of the page and click on the link to see the rest of the original blog posting.
John Williams

In the sixth grade, I joined band where I played the clarinet through the rest of my middle school years. In band we played a variety of types of music ranging from classical pieces to jazz. At the end of each school year we would put on a spring concert which was always my favorite concert to perform at as for this concert we would choose a variety of compositions from popular sources such as movies, television shows, and video games that we would vote on as a class. Every year I was in band at least one John Williams piece would be chosen, and John Williams quickly rose to become my favorite musical composer.

John Williams has written a variety of movie soundtrack compositions that I have highly enjoyed, and I believe that tons of movies would not have been nearly enjoyable without his work. Some of his more notable work includes tracks for Pirates of the Carribean, Saving Private Ryan, and even The Emperor Strikes Back. From what I've noticed, movies are generally mostly known for their acting performances, story telling abilities, and special effects. However, any movie I've seen with John Williams composed soundtracks, are especially renown for their musical backings, as John Williams is able to enhance movies through music in ways other composers strive to follow. For this reason, I chose to write my blog post about him. 

The official John Williams website would be a great starting place for one to find information about his life and work. It includes a full biography, which I particularly enjoyed reading. In it is also a list of all the different movies he's done work for. This link is definitely worth viewing!
IMDB is a great website for any movie related celebrity. It has information on all the movie's he has been a part of. What I found especially cool, is there are tons of reviews of the different movies as well and you can even post your own!
John Williams official fan website is a where I would go for all the latest news about his life. Wondering what he is working on next? This would be an awesome place to look, and even discuss with other fans what you think of John Williams. 

Thursday, July 17, 2014

August Alsina

August Alsina

August Anthony Alsina Jr. was born in New Orleans, Louisiana. His date of birth is September 3, 1992 making him at the young age of 21. He is fairly new to to the music industry and 2013-2014 was his breakout years. He was nominated for four awards on BET music awards and won two, Best New Artist and Coca-Cola Viewer's Choice Award.

I grew up listening to all sorts of rap, hip hop, R&B and even some Motown. As time has progressed what I noticed about the evolution of many of these genres is the limitations of the subject matter of their music. It seems as if most rappers and hip hop artists only talk about women, drugs and money. There are the few artists that took a leap and their careers are blooming due to it. August Alsina is one of them. He is of true inspiration, the way he can turn his hardships into beautiful compelling is indication of true talent. He writes his own music, in which you can feel the heart and passion he has for his music. His story of drug addict family members, destruction of his home after hurricane Katrina, and death of his father and brother, he has a lot of bent up emotions that he expresses through his music. Although, he may rap and sing about those experiences he also does not detour completely away from mainstream topics. He carries himself in a mature manner and his songs. His music is well crafted, and songs that you are catchy that you just want to play on repeat. If I am having a bad day, he is one of two artists that I will listen to in order to lighten my mood. Not to mention, he has such an interesting appealing, strong voice that I can listen to for hours and hours. This is also a different flavor then I am used to because his rap and song style is southern and I am a bigger fan of West Coast music.

August Alsina Fansite:
This is a link to August Alsina's fansite. This site is a reference to keep current on August Alsina's career, it provides a tour schedule, accomplishments, awards and news about August Alsina. The site also provides other artists on the same label that fans of August Alsina may appreciate as well.

Madame Noire:
Madame Noire is a cutting-edge web publication that is geared towards African American women. They provide insight on black hair care, relationship advice, fashion trends, entertainment news and parents tips, etc. August Alsina was recently interviewed, and for being a new artist his stardom power is still limited but this interview shows his depth, maturity and how humble this young artist is.

This is a link to MTV's August Alsina artist page. Here you can further explore music, videos, interviews, tweets, photos, tour dates and discography. You can buy tickets to his concerts on this site and download music. There is even a feature in which matches August Alsina to similar artists for fans to checkout.

Written by: Jade Parker

James DeWitt Yancey (J-Dilla)


          James DeWitt Yancey, also known as J-Dilla or Jay Dee, was a Hip-Hop producer that in my opinion was and still is the greatest producer of Hip-Hop to ever have lived. J-Dilla mastered the technique of using a sampling machine, called an MPC. J-Dilla had an extraordinary ability to take music, often lost pieces of music that would never get noticed by people, and make something new out of it. The reason I believe Dilla is one of the greatest producers, if not the greatest of all time, is that he could hear a song, chop up a sample, and make a beat in a matter of 10-20 minutes at most; and they would be instant classics. Many artists and producers look up to J-Dilla as a pioneer in Hip-Hop.
          James Yancey was born in Detroit, Michigan February 7, 1974. He was raised on Jazz at a young age, and soon took an interest in making music. Dilla learned many instruments as a kid, such as piano, guitar, cello, flute and drums, but as he grew older, he took up the MPC as his main instrument. J-Dilla made music for many popular artists, such as Common, Tribe Called Quest, Slum Village, Pharcyde and Erykah Badu as he grew older.
          In 2004, James Yancey was diagnosed with a rare blood disease called Lupus, in which the body’s immune system begins attacking itself. He did not let this stop him from making music, however. J-Dilla spent the last few months of his life in a hospital bed making music, and he released his third solo LP entitled Donuts, on February 6, 2006, just three days before his passing at the age of 32.
          J-Dilla’s music continues to live on to this day, and will forever be my favorite music to listen to, due to the amount of diversity and quality of it. There is so much depth to his music, and I am still finding new music of his to this day, and different aspects to his music that I had not noticed before. This music has inspired me, and it has changed the game of Hip-Hop forever.
This site offers a biography, discography, inquiries and other various information about the artist for fans of him. The site is updated frequently, and includes recordings of some of J-Dilla's music and other short stories about the artist and the music.

This website offers information about the artist, photo and video galleries, music and discography, as well as news and a store, where you can purchase CD's, vinyls, clothes, etc.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Johann Sebastian Bach

Johann Sebastian Bach

Johann Sebastian Bach, more commonly referred to as J.S. Bach, is one of the greatest composers of all time.  I am compelled by Bach because he was not even recognized as a great composer during his time but later was recognized as a giant in classical style music.  He was considered an excellent player and teacher of music by his contemporaries, but his compositions weren't fully appreciated until the likes of Mozart, Beethoven, and Chopin started using his works as inspiration.  His reputation actually declined after his death because his work was considered "old-fashioned" compared to the emerging galant style that was becoming popular in the middle of the eighteenth century.  The three prominent composers I mentioned above, along with Schumann and Mendelssohn, greatly admired his keyboard work.  Beethoven even described Bach as the "original father of harmony."  It is because Bach and his work was largely dismissed by fellow composers, and then later appreciated and made famous, that I so greatly admire him.

I found this site very interesting because it includes a detailed biography of Bach and also includes his complete works and recommended recordings.  The biography link is great because it shows a map of the places Bach lived and has tells about how each place he lived influenced his work.  It is interesting to note that Bach lived in a very small geographic region throughout his lifetime.  During his time, it was unusual for a great composer to stay in such small area, and this could have been a factor in why his music was so under-appreciated during his lifetime.

This webpage is very enjoyable because it features a video that condenses a lot of important information about Bach into 3 minutes.  The Bach historians tell how he and his music was deeply influenced by his religious Lutheran upbringing.  Bach himself wrote many hymns.

This article titled "Why Bach Moves Us" written in the New York Review of Books tells how musicians, composers, and listeners of Bach's works have had to speculate on much of Bach's inner, personal life due to the little information about his character.  He left very few written accounts of his feelings, thoughts, and his life outside of music.  Because of this we are forced to shape our perceptions of his inner life by paying close attention to his music.  The elements of his music provide us with some clues as to how Bach felt about life, but much of it is left to speculation through his compositions.

Miranda Lambert

I used to be impartial to country music. Now I can't get away from it. Miranda Lambert is one of the reasons why. She's beautiful, strong, fiery, and fierce, which is why I love her. I can appreciate bad ass women, and Miranda Lambert is a bad ass to say the least. As I've grown up, my Mama taught me the value of strong women. I have always grown up as such, and I respect those who have as well. I chose Miranda Lambert for this reason. Strong women deserve attention and respect and she is tough but still has a gentle side. This is why she is so intriguing to me.

This site talks about the different songs that Miranda is famous for. She is most famous for her songs that reflecting her as a tough girl. "Kerosene" is about burning down an abusive boyfriends house."Gunpowder and Lead" is about loading a shotgun to greet a cheating boyfriend. The site also talks about Miranda's soft-side. She has songs in which she is vulnerable through her music, for example "The House That Built Me" talks about the house where she grew up and how it shaped her. Miranda Lambert

This site talks about random facts about Miranda Kerr. Miranda's parents were private investigators who brought abused women home to protect them from their husbands. Obviously her parents is where she got her tough-girl side from. Miranda Kerr also admits to having poor grades all through high school, and almost not graduating. Miranda Lambert is married to Blake Shelton and their first dance was to Neal McCoy's "No Doubt About It." 10 facts about Miranda Lambert

Miranda is a lifetime member of NRA and is an avid hunter. Her father taught her to use guns at a very young age, and taught her all about the safety aspects Miranda's drink of choice is Bacardi with crystal light. She talks about her tattoo on her arm of two pistols with angel wings, and how her father was mad at her for getting it. She says that her tattoo has become her logo and she doesn't regret it since has been a kind of signifier for her which she puts on all her backdrops. Miranda Dishes