How Do You Jew An educational, informational, conversational blog and (someday) podcast about Judaism, Jewish practices, customs, and rituals, Israel, and whatever else we decide to talk about.

December 17, 2007

The law of averages

It’s just a fact. When you make something like 800 over 1,000 movies a year, they’re not all going to be classics. And when you make music videos from the songs in some of those movies, some of them are going to be so laughably bad that they’ll provide untold oodles of entertainment (“untold oodles”? Is that even a quantifiable amount?). Thanks to Matthew Rebecca from sporky.net, whose husband, Matthew, provided me with the delightfully random NaBloPoMo badge you see at top of the sidebar now, I just grooved to Ganpat. As Matthew Rebecca put it,

It’s nice to know we’re not the only country embracing stupidity.

Amen.

Matthew Rebecca himherself was turned on this work of art by NPR).

edited to fix the entry based on new information (see Rebecca’s comment below).

Equal time, again: Christmas in Fallujah (x2)

My first concert was Billy Joel on (I think) The Bridge tour, so I’ve been a fan for a long time. I went to that concert with my mom, who’s also a big fan. She was kind enough to point me to Billy’s latest social commentary tune (following up on, just off the top of my head, Goodnight Saigon, Allentown, We Didn’t Start the Fire, The Downeaster Alexa, and others; videos of all these and more available here), Christmas in Fallujah (buy from iTunes). Here’s Billy introducing the song and the singer (Cass Dillon does the vocals), and here’s the performance itself.

The first comment on the Youtube page for the introduction references another song by the same name, released over two years ago by a different, independent artist named Jefferson Pepper. THAT youtube now comments on the Billy Joel track, and, while it’s easy to understand why it didn’t attract mainstream attention, it’s worth listening to/viewing. You can also download the song here (a couple more of his songs may be heard here).

December 10, 2007

Concert review: Jingle Ball 2007

Filed under: entertainment,Family,fun,Jewish holidays,music — howdoyoujew @ 23:21

Local Top 40 station Star 94.1 (which is, yes, owned by ClearChannel, those corporate radio bastards) raises money for Becky’s House, a domestic violence shelter. The main fundraiser for the year is Jingle Ball, a multi-band concert that this year featured Vanessa Carlton, Lenny Kravitz, Duran Duran, and Matchbox 20. My lovely wife was kind enough to buy me (and her sister) a ticket as a Chanukah present, and we enjoyed ourselves at this awesome event earlier this evening. Following is my review (first name links to official site, last name/second word to wiki):

Vanessa Carlton:

A talented pianist and singer/songwriter who, while I’m sure was glad for the venue, exposure, and publicity, would be better heard in a club rather than the arena she played tonight (the San Diego Sports Arena). Her big hit, A Thousand Miles, was released in 2002, and she still has a loyal fanbase, but hasn’t seen much commercial success over the last couple of years. She only played 20 minutes (3 or 4 songs), and the songs all sounded pretty similar to me, but again, the atmosphere in an arena is not ideal for picking out lyrics and establishing an opinion about an artist one knows very little about.
Grade: B+

Lenny Kravitz:

Yowza! Lenny Kravitz is a guitar-rock stud with a peace and love streak that’s infectious and right up my alley. He ran all over the stage – and the arena during one song – getting the crowd pumped, playing a bunch of familiar tracks (including his rockin’ cover of the Guess Who’s American Woman) as well as a few new songs off the forthcoming Love Revolution CD. He’s got a terrific band backing him up, with a terrific lead guitarist who shredded mightily throughout. When Lenny’s 45 minutes were up, we were definitely left wanting more.
Grade: A

Duran Duran:

Being the 80s geek that I am, I was really looking forward to this part of the show. The intro raised the expectations even higher, since they’d auctioned off the rights to intro the band on stage to a local family. I should have known the show was going to go downhill when the band opened with Notorious, not one of their bigger hits from the 80s. They then proceeded to bore the audience with new material for a while before launching into, I kid you not, Planet Earth and Ordinary World, eventually pulling out a few moments of satisfaction and fun with Wild Boys, then making me go “Huh?” again with A View to a Kill and slogging through an uninspired rendition of Rio.
Look, Simon et al., I know you’re trying to promote new material. You’ve got a new CD coming out; you’re an artist, you need to create, I get that. But you’re on a bill with two major headlining acts for a charity show. The audience here didn’t come to sit through unrecognizable new songs; we came to dance and sing along to the tunes we grew up with. No Girls on Film? No Hungry Like the Wolf? Come ON!
Grade: D

Matchbox 20:

THIS is how you play a rock concert, ladies and gentlemen! Rob Thomas (who was channeling a little bit of Elvis in his on-stage banter, quite successfully I might add) is a ball to watch and listen to, with a highly talented band collaborating with him. They did 2 or 3 songs off the new album – including the insanely catchy How Far We’ve Come, which I’ve loved since the first time I heard it – confirming their knack for putting together good, accessible rock that doesn’t pander to teenyboppers, but the bulk of their hour-long set was a massive string of hits going back to 1996’s Yourself or Someone Like You CD (Push, 3 AM, and Long Day) and working through their impressive discography leading to the current release, Exile on Mainstream (which, even though they didn’t say it aloud, is a generous nod and wink to the Stones’ Exile on Main St.). I don’t follow bands religiously like some fans, so it’s possible that there’s a great deal of discussion about the influences and inspirations, but I have to say I didn’t care much about those things on Sunday night. I just saw a terrific show by an excellent, energetic rock band.
Grade: A+

Thanks for the great Chanukah present, honey!

March 21, 2007

Support podcasting and independent music tomorrow.

Filed under: Life Online,music,Podcasting,technology — howdoyoujew @ 12:46

Simple: everyone buys the same podsafe song from iTunes on the same day, sending it to the top of the charts and letting the mainstream labels know we are a force to be reckoned with. I’m in. Are you?

January 12, 2007

Comedy is good.

Filed under: funny,music,video — howdoyoujew @ 18:25

I’m a few days behind the leading edge on this, but I imagine there are still plenty of people who haven’t seen this (and have never heard of the man responsible), so enjoy (thanks to David Malki, creator of the wonderful Wondermark comic):

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