Tuesday, December 13, 2011


Yesterday I watched two movies consecutively. The first one was Justin Bieber: Never Say Never, a 2011 documentary style piece that looks at Bieber's rise to fame and gives a glimpse into where the kid came from. The second was Le Concert, a French film that came out in 2009 about a Russian maestro looking to reunite his orchestra and play a concert in Paris after they were forcefully disbanded thirty years ago. I can't resist the urge to compare and contrast the two, as putting them side by side forces an argument over modern versus classical music.

I've always enjoyed the majority of Bieber's music. I've also known most of the story of how he became famous, a lot of it being a testament to the power of social media and the internet. I did learn from the movie, however, that he started with a lot of natural talent and fostered it with a little perseverance. No lessons, not the most musically immersed of settings and yet he clearly had a knack for rhythm and vocal inflections. While many would argue against the concept of natural musical talent, I'm a firm believer in it- more would even argue that Bieber has it, but I don't think that many would argue that he has the talent of being an entertainer. Either way, in a few short years and through the right opportunities, he's blossomed into this cultural force to be reckoned with.

Now the musicians in Le Concert had a dramatically different background. As depicted, the classical musician spends their entire life seeking mastery of their instrument. When the Communist regime forces their disbandment, they are forced to find oddball jobs to get by whether it's driving an ambulance or a taxi or working at the street market. Thirty years later, when the maestro comes back to collect them they are old, rusted people that you'd never give a second glance at on the street, but with an instrument in their hand they can put out majestic tunes. It's a beautiful idea, much of it centered around musical mastery and maintaining identity through hardship.

I find that one of the more interesting aspects to compare is the induced type of fanaticism. As I said, I like the stuff Bieber puts out, but most certainly not as much as some of the teenage girls that go to his concerts. From some of testimonies in the movie, the girls love him because of his image and how they feel like his words are directed at them... or the hope of such at least. The passion for classical music is something dramatically different. The prerequisite of a taste for refinement is often confused for elitism. Without words, the impact of instrumental orchestral music is left to the listener to interpret- left for them to feel it as they wish. The strength of such passion is illustrated in that it can be forced underground for thirty years and come back out as beautiful as ever. I think Bieber is seventeen right now.

I just wanted to put forth these observations and recommend that you see both of these movies, as they were both very good. There's certainly room to enjoy any number of styles of music, but to deny that there are conflicts in their ideology or social impacts would be ignorant. For the sake of self reflection I, at least, found watching them quite useful.

Monday, November 14, 2011

The Bird:

As a kid, I used to get annoyed when adults would point or push buttons with their middle finger. How are you going to tell me that it's rude to stick up my middle finger and then go around locating words on a page or selecting a floor in an elevator while flicking off the world?

Now I find myself using my middle finger for some utility. Mostly it is the most natural form to hit the button on the filtered water dispenser at work. I must be turning into an adult.

Friday, August 19, 2011

I'm a little bit in love with these.

Friday, August 12, 2011

New chapter, new chapters, new chapters.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Artscape 2011 Hype:

Things that I am excited about with Artscape looming ahead this next weekend-

1. Biking to and around the event. Hipster-like, but more mature and stylish... an opportunity to show off my new bike (not single-speed, though, as pictured).

2. Sondheim Exhibit - definitely some sweet art, more of the refined variety. Air conditioning break.

3. MICA student art - there's something visceral and raw about this production.

4. Hipster print t-shirts - given my success last year, I'm going to try for another and perhaps make it an annual effort.

5. Baltimore Symphony Orchestra free concert - I haven't always been able to catch this show as I don't think it interests most people, but I enjoy it and it also adds a nice air conditioning break to the day.

6. Festival food - apparently there's a new vendor so I'm excited to see if there are going to be any creative morsels to be found. Also I'd guess that the food trucks will be sharking around the edges of the festivities. Funnel cake falls under this category.

7. Free stuff.

8. Club Charles - this is by far the best bar scene of the year. I am debating whether the safety of the reflectors on my bike or the clean, stealth aesthetic takes priority for the night ride in and out here.

Officially hyped.

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

I think an interesting exercise is to fill in the blanks in the following statement:

I may not be very ______, but I am _______ .

I find that I easily lose my identity when trying to impress someone, and I have to remind myself that the key to success lies in the idea that you have to like yourself before others can like you.

I may not be very adventurous, but I am open minded.
I may not be very radical, but I am progressive in practical ways.
I may not be very athletic, but I am graceful.
I may not be very outgoing, but I am loyal to the last.
I may not be very vocal, but I am thoughtful.