In Memoriam

I was sitting on the porch today enjoying the beauty of the Memorial Day sunshine, when my mom came out to tell me some disheartening news.  A member of our family had passed away; or so it  seemed. Gregg Allman has always been a part of our lives, and to hear of his passing, does create a void in a way. Now I can’t claim to be an Allman Brother’s fan. My father will tell you I have spent most of my life rolling my eyes at him, whenever he begins reveling in the grovel of Gregg’s voice or the 15 minute drum solo of Jaimoe, which my brother and I loving know as “Gregg’s bathroom break.” But, even if we couldn’t quite appreciate or understand Gregg’s music while we were growing up listening to Britney Spears or Eminem,  I can honestly look back and see that Gregg, the Allman Brother’s, and my dad’s love for them, has changed my life.

While each generation finds its own unique sound, I believe that it is the music that our parent’s expose us to from a young age, that truly helps root our appreciation of music and  the genre’s that we will most gravitate to. As mentioned, I was a 90’s baby’s with bubble gum pop ruling my record choices for a good portion of my early years. However, my dad never let us get into the car without listening to at least one of his songs first. “One song, and then you can have control of the radio,” he would promise. Of course it would always be an Allman Brother’s song, which was 10+ minutes long and we would get to where we were going just as the song was finishing! As much as this begrudged us at the time, our exposure to musicians playing instruments and songwriting that had deeper meaning than the puddly pop we were indebted to, was a blessing. It may have taken a while for me to come around, but by the time I was heading into high school, I had come to discover my own rock legends  and delve more into classic rock music.

For me it was and will probably always be Fall Out Boy. My brother passed down a burned copy of their Take This to Your Grave album, and from the moment I heard “Saturday” my music bubble, in which I only listened to Top 4o, was  shattered. I soon was intrigued to learn more about Fall Out Boy’s influences and what musicians inspired them.  I soon was rediscovering and truly appreciating the music that my parents had always had on in the background. Bob Dylan, Billy Joel, Neil Young, Bob Seger, and most notably the Beatles.  I even ended up writing my college entrance essay about The Beatles. An essay about how much they impacted me, and how all the music of my parent’s generation influenced me. All the music,  I thought, but the Allman Brothers, which I did in fact bring up in the essay. I still felt that I couldn’t quite connect with Gregg. But, the universe was determined to never let the Allman Brothers get too far away from me, even as I journeyed into adulthood. When I first met my college advisor, he mentioned, I gathered jokingly, that the only reason I got into the school was that the essay mentioned his favorite band. “Oh yeah, the Beatles,” I thought.  Nope! The Allman Brothers, even if it was a line about how I didn’t care for them, he was at least proud that I knew who they were.

Gregg’s passing is truly the end of an error in this household.  I doubt that his music will die out with him, and I in fact am fully prepared to hear his music coming from my Dad’s speakers in an incessant celebration of his life  for the next few days, but it does mean the end of my dad and his 4 brothers donning their Eat a Peach shirts and heading out for the umpteenth time to go see Gregg in concert, and the pure joy that comes along with that. I know this will  hurt, because if my crying at coming within inches of Andrew Mcmahon at a recent show is any indication, I know how awesome it feels to see your idol in concert.

So rest easy Gregg,  they will never catch the Midnight Rider, and they will never be able to find a musician who can fill your shoes.

 

 

Throwback Thursday Vinyl

My first intro to ska or reggae sound was from No Doubt.  Of course the genre had been around much longer than that, but I was surprised to discover it influencing the sound a of a late 70’s British rock star.  Ranked by Rolling Stone as one of the 500 greatest songs of all time, Elvis Costello’s “Watching the Detectives,” most certainly  pulls it sound from this innately island  genre.

Costello attributes his writing  of the song to a late night binge listening session of the Clash’s first album.  Perhaps he had some late night re-runs of old detective shows on while doing this? Or maybe he was up late unable to sleep due to a fight with the girl in the song?  Whatever the circumstances,  it is widely accepted that the song is about a boyfriend that is frustrated with his girlfriend for paying him no attention while she watches detective dramas on TV.

Even with its quirky storyline, “Watching The Dectives” was certainly a new avenue for the British Punk scene it was inspired by.  It is no wonder why it grabbed the critics’ attentions and has remained a hit to this day.

Throwback Thursday Vinyl

This week I am going back to The Beatles and one of my favorite albums, The White Album.Bouncy, cheerful, tinkly,” says Hunter Davies¹,  “Martha My Dear” it is short and sweet, and apparently cuddly! Martha is turns out was Paul’s Old English sheep dog.  The dog and Paul’s piano were the only inspiration needed to created this tune, with none of the other Beatles taking part in the recording. Recorded in October 1968, it is thought that, although Martha was indeed a real dog, that perhaps she may have not been the soul subject of the tune, as it was only a year prior that  Paul’s engagement to Jane Asher was called off. Critics reviewing the lyrics believe that the song reflects Paul’s wish that Asher never forget him, even though it was his infidelity that lead to their split.  “Martha My Dear” has not be considered one of The Beatles stand outs by any means, but it certainly has the upbeat, bubbliness that makes you want to hum along. While the true inspiration may have come from a break up, the sound definitely evokes the spirit of a jolly Old English sheep dog.

Davies, Hunter, ed. The Beatles Lyrics. New York: Little,Brown, 2014. Print. ¹

Throwback Thursday Vinyl

Well, after an extended hiatus do to my turntable failing on me, TBT vinyl is back!👏👏

To kick things off, a bit a of a tribute. Two weeks ago today we lost a memorable legend of rock, J. Geils. While  born and raised in New York, we Bostonians like to claim him and the J. Geils Band as our own, as they were formed while Geils was attending Worcester Poly Tech and after recruiting local musicians including lead singer Peter Wolf, making the loss even more bittersweet.

The J.Geils Band first came onto the scene in the mid 60’s as an acoustic blues band, but started using electric guitars and adding in keyboard, harmonica, and other instruments and sounds, leading them into the genre of rock, with early performances opening for bands such as The Allman Brothers and The Byrds.

The early 70’s brought most of the bands commercial success, with their third album Bloodshot reaching #10 on the Billboard charts and their single “Must Have Got Lost” peaking at #12 in 1975. Then in 80’s, the debut of MTV help gained the band a #1 hit with “Centerfold,” of their 1981 album Freeze Frame.

“Flamethrower” is one of the B-side songs off the Freeze Frame album, rising to only #25 on the charts, however it does not provide any less vim and vigor than any of their more popular hits. The song is an ode to a woman who is all business during the day, but knows how to bring it when she clocks out. Here’s to working hard and playing harder!

 

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Fashion Review: Met Gala 2017

Oh the Met Gala!

Everyone thinks that the Oscar’s are the fashion Superbowl, but done right the Met Gala can bring much more excitement!

The most exciting part about the Met Gala is that there is a theme. It’s truly the chicest costume party you will ever see!

This year’s theme was meant to pat tribute to the designer Rei Kawakubo, a Japanese designer best know for the Commes de Garçon label. In researching the designer’s aesthetic, one will find it to be very avant garde, with many pieces being very large and sculptural. Red and black are often used, but Kawakubo does not shy from bright colors either.

With the theme in mind, I was ready for people to really go outside the box, but for the most part all I saw was your typical red carpet looks. I have to say, It was actually a bit of a challenge to come up with my misses, because even if they did not stick to the theme, mostly every still looked gorgeous.

So here we go. Again, the evening started off pretty so-so, and then… wait for it… RHIANNA

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Like there is no words. She just simply came, conquered, and continued on. This nailed the theme 115%. Bow down!

Ok now for some others who fared rather well.

2) Zendaya

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I love Zendaya. Just in general, I find her to be amazing. But then on top of that she always seems to nail her fashion. This dress is no exception. It is so beautifully fierce, fits the theme nicely with its volume and nod to Asian-esque art, and her hair and makeup fall right in step! Kudos Zendaya!

3)Blake Lively

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I mean really, does Blake Lively ever not look fabulous? I really thought this was the way to bring a little bit of the theme/costume element without going to crazy. She looks super glam, but also like a beautiful Asian bird of paradise. Ugh! and her body is unfair to anyone who has had children or has been alive ever, but you go Blake Lively!

4) Chrissy Teigen

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Another one who can do no wrong is the infallible Chrissy Teigen. Not only did she look beautiful, but also gave me enough drama to fit the theme. The train flowed behind her effortlessly and she smiled and laughed down the whole carpet. Her beauty came from within and and outside!

5) Ruby Rose

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So on this one I am totally bias, because Ruby Rose is my girl crush and she could be wearing a potato sack and I would love it. But, in this case she happened to wear a stunning dress! It had just enough drama,not quite on theme, but still daring enough,and truly looked effortless. I love seeing her all femmed out! Perfection!

*Honorable Mention goes to Nikki Minaj, Ashley Graham, and Halle Berry, as they were about the only others to stay on theme.*

And now the worst…

1) Rose Byrne

 

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Oh dear. This was so bad I feel in pain. It was a sad combo of Borat’s unitard bathing suit and mosquito net. Topped with hair that should have staid on the set of Saturday Night fever, and you can just call it a night!

2) Lena Dunham

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Ugh. Why do we let Lena Dunham out of the house. She always looks like a hot mess and last night was no exception. Her hair looks like rats are nesting in it (sorry! but its true!), her eye makeup is way too heavy, and the dress is looks like something one of the goth girls in home ec tries to make for prom. I just can’t. Did I mention I also just don’t really like Lena in general? In case you couldn’t tell!

3) Solange Knowles

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What in the Lord’s name? Solange, sweetie, this was the Met Gala, not the REI Jamboree. Please return your sleeping bag and come back with an actual outfit,OK? This event is also not on ice, so shoes over skates might be a wise choice as well. Girl, bye.

4) Karlie Kloss

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Well, here we have a case of when bad styling happens to beautiful people. While costumes are encouraged at the Met Gala, I do not think a “Sexy Secretary” is what Anna Wintour had in mind. I’m really at a loss on this one!

5) All the Kardashians

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I wasn’t going to even bring them up, because my loathing of the Kardashian-Jenner clan is so unreal that one of them could have been wearing Rhianna’s dress and I still would have hated it. But in this case, they all looked foolish (well minus Kylie, she did alright, but I’m lumping her in for good measure!), so my thoughts are justified.

Kim did not even try. She put on a beach cover-up and said “Ta-Da!” Go back to Bali Kim! No one wants you here!

Kendall was almost acceptable, until she turned around and you found out the dress was assless… as is she. I just find this to be completely tasteless. Like she is actually a pretty girl. Do not do this to yourself.

Kylie, well she is just bad by association. I actually liked this look a lot.

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Fashion Review: Grammys 2017

Last night was the 2017 Grammy Awards.  Some stars came to rock, while others I would have liked to see be rolled right out the door. As always, lets start with the bad and the ugly.

  1. Jennifer Lopez

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Well all I can say is J. NO! For starters that color has got to go. This is the Grammy Awards, not brunch with Grammy! That pastel hue has no edge, no femme boss power. It is putting me to sleep. And then, obviously there is that  neck line. It looks like she was walking past a circus tent during high winds and someone’s cotton candy flew by and stuck on her. I like her shoes? But not nearly enough to save this.

2) Nick Jonas

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My first male review because I just can’t understand this. He looks like a gay Johnny Cash. The Bedazzler needed to stay in the the attic with the rest of the 80’s memorabilia. And why, when you have one of the most gorgeously ripped bodies on the carpet do you wear a tee shirt so large it looks like he just came from the Biggest Loser ranch? Not to mention that the rhinestone cowboy jacket, while being stand alone ugly, is also too big and boxy. Ugh, has he never heard of the KISS method? Keep It Simple, Stupid! Should have worn a suit.

3) Tori Kelly

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Tori, Tori, Tori. This is not cute. The layers make you look wide, the neckline looks like a tissue box cover, and overall this just looks sad. Did no one remember that the Grammy red carpet is a time to have a little fun with fashion? This dress is safe and blah and does not scream Diva. Keep dressing like this and your voice won’t be able to keep you a float. You have to look the part too!!

4) Katy Perry

 

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I don’t even really have words.  I was not aware that she was here to promote the new Beauty and the Beast film, but…

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Thankfully there was some good

 

  1. Demi Lovato

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While I loathe the Kardashians, Demi keeps wanting to dress like one, and I am surprisingly OK with it. This fits her impeccably, her hair and makeup are flawless, and while there is a lot going on here, somehow it doesn’t seem like too much. Well done Demi! Keep doing you!

2) Adele

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Adele loves to dress like Lady Grantham and I love every minute of it. Her mother-of-the bride style somehow works. She always looks gorgeous and always picks something that glides over her shape in all the right ways. This is no exception. This dress would literally be completely unacceptable on anyone else, but on Adele, it works!

3) Halsey

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I am in love with this look in  so many ways! She said she wanted to do an early 90’s/TLC throwback, and she nailed it! Her hair and make up look great, this color looks great, and this is the edge that I demand from the Grammy red carpet! She had fun with fashion and took a risk, and I wish I could pull this look off! Although have to say, it apparently did not photograph well, as this looks rather wrinkly.

4) Lady GaGa

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At first I wanted to hate this. GaGa stepped onto the carpet, and I was a bit taken aback because I thought GaGa may be past this phase, as many of her latest awards shows she has gone the Hollywood glamour look. But then, I fell in love, because this is classic GaGa that we all know and love, it had the edge of a music super star, and was such a fashion moment. All hail Lady Gaga for bringing this award show to life!

Fashion Review: SAG Awards 2017

Last night the 2017 SAG Awards aired, which means another chance for stars to make their mark on the red carpet. While I didn’t get a chance to watch the show itself, I have done a thorough review of the wardrobe wins and fashion fails of the evening.

Unlike the Globes, where many usually on point icons were off their mark, the SAGS provided a plethora of Best Dressed nominees. I was pleasantly surprised by the variety, from suits to prints to shear and barely there, there was something for everyone.

Of course, even among all these bright stars, there were some that just fell flat. So lets start with those!

Winona Ryder:

While some bad looks do not have any explanation, this one clearly does. Winona obviously was feeling nostalgic and decided to take a time machine back to 1988 where she borrowed her wardrobe from her Beetlejuice dressing room. While not a wise decision at least we have an answer!

Busy Phillips:

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Unlike her partner in crime, Michelle Williams, who redeemed herself from her horrible pilgrim costume that she wore to the Globes, Busy decided to taker her turn on the worst dressed list.  I love a good glittery gown, but I look at this and think “Limited Too is calling, they want their purple camo back!” Seriously, I’m pretty sure I had a pair of cargo pants in this fabric circa 1998. To her credit, her hair and make up look great! But, the dress has got to go.

Salma Hayek:

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Oh Salma, so close, but so far away. Her body looks lovely, hair and make up are beautiful too, but this dress, it is the dress that I have seen on many a Barbie birthday cake.

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I mean, can you deny the resemblance? If anything, this is certainly not a red carpet gown. She might have gotten away with this if she wore it to a beach wedding? But, then again, I still think I would see the cake.

Emma Stone:

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This pains me. Emma Stone is a beautiful woman. She always comes dressed to impress. Not to mention her talent. But this…OOF! What happened? It looks like the pins let loose on one side and the fabric fell down, leaving us with nothing but her Spanx! Besides just being ugly, this dress does nothing for her figure, with that belted portion hitting in a spot that makes her hips look much wider. Is it just me? Or is it also too short? Ugh, why oh why does bad fashion happen to good people?

Now for the good stuff!!

Sophia Vegara

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Sophie Vegara has been switching up her look lately, and I love it! Gone are the body-con va-va voom dresses and in are the feminine and romantic. And, being that she is ageless and flawless, she can pull of both looks with ease. However, her new looks are really breathtaking. This dress is classic, simple, and light, and just lets her natural beauty be the focus. Her hair and make up are so elegant as well. The only thing is I might have added a necklace, as its a tad bare near her neckline, but over all, stunning!

Thandie Newton:

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I feel I will probably have people disagreeing with me on this pick. I get it, the images at the bottom make zero sense. But if we could look past the crazy images, there is a gorgeous dress underneath!. The shape and fit are beautiful, the sparkle is great, I’m in love with that collar! So please, just squint past the odd Persian style horses, the crows, and the random Ferris wheel, won’t you?  Because her skin, hair, makeup, and confidence, make up for them!

Nicole Kidman:

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Thank you beautiful Nicole for getting back on track. The Globes was not your finest moment, but this heals all wounds! The color does all the right things for your skin, the feathers are a stand out, but not over the top, and the frills at the bottom are giving me great movement and texture! I feel like she looks like some wonderful Amazon queen, parrot armor and all!

Mayim Bialik:

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And my best dressed for the evening goes to Mayim Bialik, because I want to live in the dress right now! The fit, the color, the sheen, the shape, the EVERYTHING! She looks like she is wearing the most luxurious wrapping paper, and she is the beautiful gift inside.  But seriously, where can I get this dress. I’m obsessed!

Can’t wait to tune into Fashion Police and hear their take tonight! Bring on the rest of awards season!