Sunday, September 07, 2014

All about ramen (ラーメン) Journeys in Japan documentary

All you want to know about Japanese ramen in this documentary by NHK World.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Saturday, August 30, 2014


Orange Caramel, "Catallena" (lyrics)


Friday, August 29, 2014

documentary on Soul Train "The HIppest Trip"

Soul Train: The Hippest Trip, a documentary from VH1 (2010)



the quality isn't great, so here are a few clips that are highlighted in the show that  I've found in somewhat better shape:

Aretha's performance:


The Soul Train line to "Rock Steady"

Soul Train stories

I'm reading Love, Peace and Soul: Behind the Scenes of America's Favorite Dance Show. Soul Train Classic Moments, by Ericka Blount Danois. Such amazing stories!

The Soul Train line inspired our dancing in Jr High and High school  in the early seventies. Maybe we couldn't do all the moves, but we enthusiastically made our own lines.


Here's a great interview with the author about her book, and Soul Train's incredible story and influence.



From a Rolling Stone post about 12 amazing Soul Train performances, here are two of my favorites: a live, unrehearsed moment from Aretha Franklin and Smokey Robinson:



and a 1975 set from Al Green. Go to 21:50 for the amazing performance of "God Blessed Our Love." Church!
The Soul Train line starts at 33:28


Thursday, August 07, 2014

funk music: a documentary



Published on Sep 25, 2013
What is Funk Music?
from the YouTube description:
Where is Funk Music?
What is The Future for Funk Music?

These questions are answered AND this genre of music is explored in:
Funk Music: A Documentary.

Interviews from members of the Funk bands Cameo, Lakeside, Slave, The Time, P-Funk All Stars, Prince's New Power Generation, Ozone, Rick James & The Stone City Band, Slapbak, Julian's Ride and many more.

Produced and Directed by Paul A. Altamirano.

Help keep The Funk alive.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Victoria de los Angeles: "la dulzura al servico del canto"



I will always adore the voice and performance of Victoria de los Angeles, especially when she sings Spanish song cycles. We had these boxed sets of classical music records when I was young, with two Rossini arias sung by her ("una voce poco fa"  and "dunque io son'"). I sang along to them hundreds of times (I don't think my mother ever complained).   Something about the timbre of her voice just made me happy. Later, I would recognize that she might not have been the most technically accomplished  when compared with some other sopranos, but she was my first love.

Here's a charming  interview clip, with a song performance, from British TV.

Best comment on this clip ("Che gelida manina" with the divine Jussi Bjorling):  her singing was "la dulzura al servicio del canto."

Monday, July 21, 2014



Lorrain Hunt Lieberson sings. She was only 52 when she died. 52! I found this through the book Orfeo.

Text from the YouTube video's About section:
"The last of Peter Lieberson's five "Neruda Songs", composed for his wife, mezzo-soprano Lorraine Hunt Lieberson. Ms. Lieberson made this recording with the Boston Symphony Orchestra, under the direction of James Levine, less than eight months before she succumbed to breast cancer, making the text of this particular song that much more poignant.

My love, should I die and you don't,
let us give grief no more ground:
my love, should you die and I don't,
there is no piece of land like this on which we've lived.

Dust in the wheat, sand in the desert sands,
time, errant water, the wandering wind
carried us away like a navigator seed.
In such times, we may well not have met.

The meadow in which we did meet,
oh tiny infinity, we give back.
But this love, Love, has had no end,

and so, as it had no birth,
it has no death. It is like a long river
that changes only its shores and its banks.

Translation: Terence Clarke"

All five poems:

Yet another med change.

May 2014:
Since I was hospitalized for the first time a year ago, I've had a roller coaster with medications.

Medications I cannot tolerate, that made my symptoms worse, or that have caused allergic reactions or adverse side effects:
Celexa. worked, then didn't and caused horrible side effects.
Temzepam: worked, but also caused bad side effects that I tolerated for way too long because I needed to sleep to be able to work. I wish I had known better.
Cymbalta: tipped me from depressed to bipolar, and had lots of crappy side effects like no REM sleep.


Welbutrin: teeth grinding, nail-biting, acute manic symptoms, intense anxiety attacks.

Lithium: worked for a while, then, blam! hives and manic attacks, ugh.
Depakote: felt like being on the SSRIs again: no sleep, constipation, dreary mood, no apparent benefit.
Seroquel . This one helped stabilize the manic symptoms, and helped me sleep (wonderful!)  but was hellish on my metabolism and did not helped the depression. I slept, but I couldn't concentrate, remember  or focus well when I was awake; I am tired all the time, I gained 30 lbs in 3 months (!) and I felt shaky and anxious with every savage blood-sugar change. Scary: I  started to get symptoms of neuropathy in my legs, and this medication can make you diabetic. Worst is the fact that the depression did not go away, even though the panic attacks did. The doctor said we should step down and step off while I started a new mood stabilizer.

So, on to the next: oxcarbazepine, an anti-seizure medication also known as Trileptal (a close relative of Tegretol or carbamazepine). Some of the suckier side-effects are not an issue for me (don't need to worry about birth control pills), but I will need to have my blood levels monitored and watch out for nasty and potentially fatal rash.

So far, so good. The neuropathy disappeared right away, as did the daily mood swings. Trileptal has not caused any new side effects. I'm sleeping reasonably well. My appetite and digestion are normal. No manic symptoms. Still with the bad depression...but not as bad.  I can now read a whole book again, and I have returned to learning: Japanese and Korean.

I still experience periodic flashes of intense, gruesome, horrific depression that make the future seem uniformly bleak and make me doubt my capacity to resist.  But they are not lasting as long. This is progress.