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Saturday, Saturday. Every damn Saturday. A day, unlike Wednesdays, when many a family, though I can only speak for the Black ones in the south, turn up the nearest radio no later than 9am to some Earth, Wind, and Fire or Anita Baker or Stevie, or on this particular Saturday in 98’, Ella Fitzgerald’s “Ain't Misbehavin.”
Every one of my siblings and I knew just what that meant. Clean-up time.
🎶 No one to talk with
All by myself 🎶
“Don’t y’all forget about the floors in the kitchen!”
🎶No one to walk with
But I'm happy on the shelf
Ain't misbehavin' 🎶
“Andrew, you’re cleaning the downstairs bathroom!”
🎶I'm savin' my love for you 🎶
Both my parents were jazz musicians.
Sometimes instead of the radio it’d just be my dad practicing piano downstairs, sometimes singing along. Ma sometimes joining him if they had a gig coming up. No, they did not clean with us. Ha!
I grew up on Ella Fitzgerald, Miles Davis, Kirk Whalum. Grew up hearing both parents say, “You need to know where it started, cause jazz is a dying breed.”
Said it’d soon go the way of blues and country before it. I grew up believing that. Expecting it, watching and listening, for a long time, to watered down copies and subpar imitations.
But no. I’m overjoyed to say that jazz is not dead. It (arguably) never even died.
Jazz lives in young and thriving artists like Samara Joy, a 23-year-old two-time Grammy-winning singer.
You can hear Sarah Vaughan in her timbre. See jazz-era stage presence in the fluid grace with which she intros her band. But best of all, there’s no mistaking Samara.
Oh, to hear an artist’s influences so clearly, yet not lose a bit of the artist’s own signature sound. What a delightful skill. And it is a skill. Samara seems to do so effortlessly.
Have y’all hear of Flo? Babeeeeee.
I’ve casually followed this British girl group for a while now, but just recently stumbled on one of their live performances on YouTube.
Now, let me tell you, when Flo sings live? The mics are on.
We can definitely have a conversation about the ongoing trend of British artists opting for American accents in their music, further highlighting the undeniable Black American influence so deeply embedded in every popular style of today, but that’s for another time.
For now, we’ll focus on the fact that these young folks have done their homework (see: y2k-era Destiny’s Child). And we love a thoughtful student of the arts over here!
I so appreciate their complex harmonies and throw-back choreo, how they mesh so flawlessly when the music drops (!). They do a build up to a bridge so well (can we talk about this ix-nay on the bridge era?!) but Flo also brings a modern lyrical flair and newer beats to the table. That mix of classic and contemporary is always a great sweet spot for music, no?
Since 2005, I truly believed loving Paramore were but a niche affinity shared only by the utterly emo/scene closeted queer. But alas, the internet has since gathered me, letting me know quite plainly, I am not special. Apparently all the girlies (used gender neutrally here) love Paramore.
They actually might be one of the most loved and talented bands out today, I said biasedly.
Their newest album, This Is Why, further validates their lovable legacy.
Paramore began as a spunky pop punk trio, with emo hits from their first album, All We Know Is Falling, like “Emergency.”
And that other one the lead singer’s since denounced and therefore I won’t name (but problematic 15-year-old me loved).
But this new album? Barely emo at all, in the best way. Ever since After Laughter (2017), the band’s felt more alt, leaning further into old-school rock, indie, and funk influences.
You’ll hear the Talking Heads in the David Byrne-ish talk-singing moments of songs like “The News.”
“Big Man, Little Dignity” feels directly inspired by the mellow harmonies of Fleetwood Mac. Some of their base lines and drum riffs give, dare I say, Red Hot Chili Peppers, which, is basically giving Parliament. Yeah, I said it!
I wish I could find that video where Anthony Kiedis admits his band totally coped George Bassets’ flow. No shade, obviously, as many artists find their flow by copying their faves, first.
It’s so exciting to grow up with a band and watch how their sound transforms. Here’s to more of that, and to good music.
Interesting, thoughtful, soulful, music. Moving on to funny things…
As some of you may know, I love to laugh. I love jokes, silly, cerebral, and everything in between. But, most of all, I love stand-up comedy.
I am always watching bits and sets and specials searching for my next chuckle, or guffaw and I always, always find it.
Lately, I’ve found laughter in so many hilarious women and femmes, and AFAB folk. Timely, as this is in fact my Women’s History Month-themed post.
I'd like to share with you a few of the funny sets and specials that have made me laugh. Perhaps they’ll get a chortle out of you, or at the very least, a teensy but spirited smile.
Sidenote: Don’t you love the words we use for laughter? How they, too, are a little bit funny? Teeter, tee-hee, giggle, cackle, crow—English sure gets it wrong sometimes, but not with laughter.
Anyway, without another moment’s wait…
Five funny specials for your humpday entertainment:
Esther Povitsky: Hot for My Name
The title of this work totally sets the tone for Esther’s humor, self-deprecating but playful, even musical at times. Her hilarious parents get several cameos, as she spends about an hour explaining how their (definitely problematic) parenting styles forced her to be nothing but a comedian when she grew up. Free to watch on Youtube.
Dulcé Sloan: Full Special
I’ve been a big fan of Dulcé’s since she joined The Daily Show in 2017. She has a very blunt, in-your-face sort of style that tickles me cause it’s always good for a shocking moment, though not an empty shock. Always equipped with a clever punchline. I also just love that Florida twang. This a short special, about 20 minutes. Free to watch on Youtube.
Atsuko Okatsuka - The Intruder
I hadn’t heard of Atsuko Okatsuka before stumbling on her hour-long HBO special, but oh-my-god. Her humor is whimsical, yet dark. Awkward as hell, but seemingly by design? Which is perfectly confusing and fun and the right tone for her subject matter which is basically the many different reasons we might feel weird: being queer, being an undocumented immigrant, mental illness, being a literal intruder on somebody’s property… Available on HBO.
Robbie Hoffman - I’m Nervous
Robbie Hoffman is a Brooklyn-born lesbian who was raised in a poor, Hasidic Jewish household and she has very many funny jokes about all of this. She’s got that New York grit and that hilarious though sometimes sobering pessimism good comedians do so well. I especially love her Zero Personality Disorder joke. I still laugh about it now. Free to watch on Youtube.
Mia Jackson: “We Fell in Love by Sexting”
Mia is a self-identified “bonafide Georgia peach,” and her southern charm brings such a fun flair to her classic comedic flow. She’s got a smooth, story-telling style that infuses clever jokes that send her tales down winding roads you won’t expect. All the while delivering every punch line with a smile. Free to watch on Youtube.
Video clips are below, in case you’re like me and need auditory proof of said “humor.” Enjoy!
Thanks everyone for reading/watching/listening. Hope you have a wonderful two weeks. Also—know any good music or comedy I should check out (any genders welcome)? Let me know! I love a recommendation.