“Falling” for Kate Havnevik

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Photo from Kate’s website, taken by Victoria Dawe

So, I have totally been missing out on Kate Havenevik’s amazing music until recently–well, not completely missing out on. Let me start at the beginning.

I used to be a huge Grey’s Anatomy fan back when the show first started. I watched it religiously, and enjoyed every bit of the drama. I also discovered a lot of musicians because of Grey’s. I still listen to some of them now. That is how I came across Kate. Her music had been used in various scenes throughout the show during the first two seasons, but it didn’t stand out to me until two specific episodes: 2×17 “As We Know It”, and 2×27 “Losing My Religion”. In 2×17, there was a whole dramatic story line surrounding a patient who had a bomb inside of his body, and the bomb squad was involved and everything. It was the second part of a two-part episode, and by the end of it, the bomb had exploded. Of course, the bomb didn’t explode without having an effect on Meredith Grey, the protagonist of the show. There is a scene at the end of the episode where two of Meredith’s friends hold a still-clothed and most likely shell-shocked Meredith underneath a shower. It was a moment of high drama. After the episode was over, I remember immediately looking up the name of the artist whose music was playing in the background of that scene. I found out that the song was called “Unlike Me”, by Kate Havnevik. I didn’t know much about Kate, but just kept the song name written down somewhere, to look up later. Then came the season finale. There was a huge, climatic sex scene between Meredith and her “forbidden” lover, Derek. The music that accompanied this scene was incredibly gorgeous. I thought that the musician’s voice had sounded familiar. Of course I later looked up the episode, to discover that of course, it was Kate again, this time singing a song called “Grace” written specifically for this scene.

I never forgot about those two songs. I had watched the music video for “Unlike Me” several times over the years since first hearing it. I then got sucked up into other musicians and my own life’s drama, and didn’t really think to look up Kate, to see what else she had to offer. It is a shame, really, because I could have been listening to more of her music way before now! Anyways, fast-forward to this summer. I have been Facebook friends with Kate for several years, and we follow each other on Instagram. I was always scared to interact with her, because I didn’t know what to say! That was until recently, when I started listening to more of her music. She is a very kind person, and I started to really enjoy the things she was posting on Instagram (even though they weren’t music-related). I wondered why I hadn’t taken the time to listen to more of her music. I had saved all of her work on my Spotify account, but never really dug into it and gave her a proper listen. So, I started with her first album, Melankton. I had already heard some of the songs off of that album anyways. After about a week it was as if I had always known that gorgeous album. The same goes for her most recent album, &I. Those two seemed to have really struck a chord with me, and where I am at in life right now. I have just gotten over being in a really depressed funk that lasted since I graduated  college. Her music makes me feel better. I know it sounds cliché, but her music is like someone breathing new life into you. It is just that good.

One of Kate’s music videos inspired the title of this post. The song is called “Falling”, and it is off of &I. Not only does the song have playful yet beautiful lyrics, but Kate and Gotti Sigurdarson have also created a music video for the song that is absolutely gorgeous. I have watched it so many times. If any of you watch the show Westworld, you may recognize Ingrid Bolsø Berdal, who plays Armistice. Her and Kate have a slow-motion tangle on the beach. I really like how the video was shot, and you can tell they are playing everything back in reverse.

Is this post even making sense anymore? I don’t even know. I just really love Kate’s music and couldn’t contain my feelings any longer, so I decided to write about it. I’m a “sucker” for her music and voice, and she is super sweet. Basically, just go listen to her music 🙂

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A Friend, Food, Books, Music.

This past weekend was a highlight in an otherwise drab summer. I got to spend Saturday afternoon and evening with someone who has come to be a very good friend. We started the afternoon at the south shore of Alameda, eating amazing burgers from Koja Kitchen, while gazing out at the San Leandro Channel. It was a welcome relief from the 90-100+ degree heat that my home town in Southern California was (and still is) experiencing.

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From the upper left clockwise: my Teriyaki Zen Koja burger (made with a soy and portobello mushroom patty, sesame vinaigrette lettuce, pineapple, teriyaki sauce, sesame seeds), Carina’s Beef Koja (made with Korean BBQ beef, sautéed onions, sesame vinaigrette lettuce, pineapple, red sauce, sesame seeds), and the Kamikaze Fries we shared (of course I shook the meat off).

From there, we went to Berkeley, to visit Amoeba Records. I have only been to the Hollywood location before, so going to see a different Amoeba store was exciting. Even though I had never been to this area of California before, I felt like I fit right in. Telegraph Street, with its multiple bookstores, music stores, and dining options just felt very me. For a moment, I lamented over the fact that I didn’t attend a public university located in an area that had such things.

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From Amoeba, we went to another music store, Rasputin Music, which was one block over from Amoeba. Literally right across the street. I was in heaven.

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One of my most favorite musicians, Joan Baez, was on the “Folk” sign at Rasputin.

From there, we went to a bookstore called Moe’s, that reminded me of some of the multiple story bookstores I visited in England last summer. Then we drove to a comic book store, and then finally Half Price Books.

 

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Just another instance of pop culture lingo meeting millennial humor.

We ended the evening by going to Yogurtland, and then started the hour-long drive back to where I was staying.

Carina and I met in 2011, at an X-Files fan event that raised money for a charity that Gillian Anderson was involved with. We were mutual friends/followers on Facebook and Twitter, but didn’t really talk much. Then that all changed one day, a few years ago, when I tweeted something about Xena: Warrior Princess. Carina replied back, and we only talked briefly on Twitter. I then messaged her on Facebook Messenger, and the rest was history. We have a lot of similar interests, and we fangirl for each other when we see something that the other likes. It is nice to have like-minded people in your life, people who have similar struggles as you, and who can relate to you. I have told Carina multiple times that if we lived closer to each other, I would come over when she was feeling lonely, or just because.

When I chose the title of this blog post, I didn’t think about the deeper meaning it could hold. The things I listed are all things that can feed your soul. It felt good to have my soul fed in all of these areas. I wish I lived closer to “fun” things, but I am not at a place in my life where I am able to relocate. Luckily, I know some pretty awesome people who can feed my soul when I least expect it.

A Whole Lotta Love (For Sally Hawkins)

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Photo by Gerhard Kassner for Berlinale

Today I watched the movie Maudie, starring Sally Hawkins and Ethan Hawke. It was such a touching, thoughtful film. Sally Hawkins plays the title character, Maud Dowley. For those who aren’t familiar with Sally’s work, she is an amazing, amazing actress. She literally becomes the character she is portraying. Her performance as Maud, a folk artist who suffers from juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, was painfully beautiful.

I first saw Sally about 10 or so years ago, back when PBS had a Jane Austen week (to match the one that ITV had done in the UK). I had fallen in love with all of the films they showed. I don’t recall if I saw Persuasion during the Jane Austen week, or after. What I do know, is that I was struck by the performance of the actress who portrayed Anne. It was Sally who played her, of course. I had my mom buy the DVD of that ITV production of Persuasion, and I kept Sally Hawkins’ name at the back of my mind. I continued on through high school, didn’t really think about Sally again until she won a Golden Globe award in 2008, and then was nominated for an Academy Award a several years later. I wasn’t on the internet much in 2008, so it would explain why I didn’t keep up with what Sally was doing. Nowadays it is so easy to track an actor’s filmography and/or see what theatrical productions they will be in, especially if they use social media. At the time, I wasn’t interested in the productions that Sally was in. I wasn’t mature enough to appreciate them. I was too busy falling head-first into the world of Twitter, and obsessing over musicians I liked who interacted with their fans via Twitter and live streams. It’s funny looking back, thinking of how I wasn’t on the computer as much as I am now. Maybe then I would have known about more of Sally’s work.

Anyways, fast forward to a few weeks ago. I had seen the trailer for Maudie, so I had Sally on the brain. I then decided to watch a film called Fingersmith.  I was delighted to discover that Sally played one of the main characdters in it. I think it was Fingersmith that re-ignited my Sally Hawkins love. I don’t want to give too much away about the film, but think Charles Dickens drama meets adventure and intrigue meets lesbians. I definitely didn’t know what to expect going into the film– I had seen a recommendation for it on another blogging website– but by the end of the first episode, I had already ordered the book on Amazon. I usually am the “read first then watch” type, but the performances given by Sally and her co-star Elaine Cassidy were so incredibly touching that I knew I was hooked.

Looking at Sally’s filmography page on IMDB, I would say she has a lot to be proud of. I have only skimmed the surface of her filmography and even I have been moved by the few productions I have seen her in. She is truly talented. I really hope I can meet her someday. She has definitely tied with Olivia Colman and Emma Thompson for the spot of “Favorite English Actress” in my book. I think she is up there with my most favorite actresses in general.

As I mentioned earlier, Sally’s work in Maudie was painfully beautiful. I think that is a good way to describe most if not all of Sally’s performances. They are all beautiful, captivating, and inspiring, and she charms you through the screen. I am definitely going to try to watch more of her work.

 

P.S., check out Sally in the trailer for Guillermo del Toro’s The Shape of Water. Looks like it’s going to be good!

It’s been….years?

I haven’t updated this blog in ages. A lot has happened since I last posted here. I’ve traveled to Spain, England, and the Netherlands, learned how to drive a manual car (and became the owner of one), and I graduated from college. I’ve also met some of my personal idols, like Lin-Manuel Miranda and Joan Baez. 

I think from here on out, I am going to update the blog with posts about  whatever I’m into, whether it be a TV series or movie I just watched, a musician, an artist, or share whatever art work or knitting project I’ve just completed. I was worried that my blog would be all over the place if I didn’t dedicate it to just one thing, but the. i thought to myself “why the heck not? It’a my blog!” I am a person who has many interests and hobbies, so why not share them with the world? 

To write, or not to write…

So, I haven’t forgotten about this blog, though those who follow it may think otherwise. I just have been extremely busy these past couple of months, and FINALLY am finished with school for the summer. I think I mentioned on an older post that I was in a musical, Godspell, at my school.

 

Between all the rehearsals (and eventual shows) for that,trying to manage my school work and being a commuter student, and rehearsals for two different string ensembles, I’ve been pretty busy. I’ve had lots of “writing” ideas during all of this and yet I wrote none of them down. Even now that I have the time, it’s like pulling teeth to get myself to write something down. Now that I have more time, I’ve been reading a lot (books and fanfiction), and also watching TV (what else is new). I started watching Spartacus, which was on Starz when it originally came out. I started watching it because of *gasp* Lucy Lawless. My Xena addiction is getting near the “Out of Hand” range, but it is not there yet; however; I do feel compulsions to watch all of my favorite episodes again, which also happen to be the most painful episodes. The series finale of that show was just gutting. I can’t imagine what it must have been like to watch that in live time. The poor fans! Anyways, Spartacus is AMAZING, unless blood/gore and sex/nudity isn’t your thing. I was a little wary with all of the gore at first, but now I like the fights. Is that a bad thing? I likened my excitement over the fights to that of me reading/watching Game of Thrones. It’s so exciting, even if it is scary at times. The writing and acting is excellent. I also loved to see Lucy play a character so completely different from Xena or Diane, on Parks and Recreation. Every time I watch a show that has great acting or where it looks like everyone is having a great time on set, it makes me wish I had more self-esteem to get out and act more. The negative voice inside my head frequently overpowers my inner voice, and I find my self regretting not trying things and wishing I had enough will to try new things. I had so much fun being in the musical, and even then with all of the positive feedback and words of praise I still doubted myself. I have been doing a lot of reading, thinking, brooding, and talking with different people, and it all comes down to the fact that I am entirely too hard on myself. I am having an extremely hard time changing that too. I have been in a dark place (mentally) for quite some time, and being in the musical was such a welcome distraction that I didn’t know what I would do once it was over. Yes, pretending to have energy that I didn’t have was tiring, but the thrill of putting on a live show and getting a response from the audience was so exciting. The negativity that I often experience was still present, though. It merely took a back seat while the show was on and made brief appearances until the show was over. I had a singing solo as well as a cello solo, and I still felt terribly about them each night, even though I had practiced them both hundreds of times. This negative thinking has got to go, but I think I need some help. Nothing good comes from being scared to try everything and having a negative mindset. I’m trying to figure out how to move past that kind of thinking (and I need some help). It’s easier said than done. I am now on a quest to discover who I am and what I want to be in life. It’s really really hard. Especially when those around you seem to be moving constantly forward and then whenever I try to move forward, I end up going backwards. Some times it’s hard to even sleep well, because of worry and anxiety. I don’t want to go into too much detail, but I know that if I don’t do something about my mind soon, then things will get bad. It’s so easy to distract myself from the real problems going on by escaping into another excellent television show, or a good story. Sometimes, I hate having to deal with real life. Especially when you have no idea what the hell you are doing.

The Moment I Live For When Listening To Music

I have been listening to a lot of Ralph Vaughan Williams as of late. I can easily say that he is in my top 10 and possibly top 5 composers ever. I have a playlist entitled “Sleep” that I listen to when sleeping, and I have three of his works on there: “Fantasia On A Theme By Thomas Tallis“, “The Lark Ascending“, and “Fantasia on Greensleeves“. The most moving (for me) out of these three is the “Fantasia On A Theme By Thomas Tallis”. I don’t exactly remember the first time I heard it, but I do know that once I heard it, I never forgot it. If you asked me what the most beautiful song in the whole world is, I will readily say that it is this song. When the strings swell, I feel like I am on a different planet. The climax of the phrases make me feel like someone is drawing the breath out of my lungs (in a good way). I live for this moment. The moment where I am listening to the music and it feels like I’ve crawled inside this music bubble and I forget things like the fact that I am unemployed, have no idea what I’m doing with my life, and am scared for my future. I forget all of the scary things, anxieties, sadness. Everything seems to melt away. When that moment happens when I am listening to music, it is almost as if everything else stops and I have a moment of peace, serenity, or awakening. 

There are a few other songs that I have had experienced this moment with. I feel like it is a special thing, being able to enjoy the mind-traveling experience quality music has to offer. 

Tetrishead” and “Frozen Angels” by Zoe Keating. When I first heard “Tetrishead”, I felt like the cello music was inside of me. Like I was being played. I don’t know how to describe it. All I know is that I wanted to play the cello after listening to it, and 3 years later here I am, still playing the cello and ready to compose for the cello quartet I am a part of. Frozen Angels gave me chills that cut straight to the bone right on the first listen. Zoe Keating is really amazing and I highly recommend her music. Her work has brought me lots of peace in times where I couldn’t find any. If you ever get the chance to see Zoe live, I highly recommend it. Watching her do her thing live is such a treat and you will be transported to somewhere else. 

Norwegian Ridgeback/ A Change of Seasons” from the soundtrack to Harry Potter And The Sorcerer’s Stone by John Williams. Around 1:54 is where the moment happens for me. This whole movie soundtrack is gold. John Williams is my favorite composer and I am a huge fan of all of his work. I recently heard Yo-Yo Ma perform a cello concerto written by Williams on the radio and it was fantastic. The man never disappoints. Truly a legend in his field.

Apollo’s Frock/ Doughnut Song” by Tori Amos. There is so much that I can say about Tori’s music, especially since I keep finding something new in her music every day. That is a whole post in itself, though. Bottom line: I am more than eternally grateful (is that possible?) that Tori’s music made its way into my life. I don’t like to think about what things would be like if I didn’t have it. (Probably not as exciting and thinkey). 

 

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The best Vaughan Williams album for those who may not be familiar with his work.

 

I really hope that I get the chance to hear a local orchestra or chamber music group play some Vaughan Williams live. I need to hear it live like I need food. The day that happens I will probably have to bring a mop and bucket along with me, because I will melt into a puddle of goo on the floor. I really hope that you all enjoy the music that I have shared here, and if not, I hope you find music that you can have your own moment with. 

Last week, I was sitting on the couch in our dining room watching Xena: Warrior Princess on my laptop and working on a cross stitch project. I had been sitting there for a while, and was switching between watching Xena and browsing the internet. While switching between Twitter and Tumblr, I saw that the ABC 7 news Twitter account had tweeted about a mountain lion attack in a city that is about 13 miles from my neighborhood. I went and looked up the details about the attack and read several news reports about it. For those who don’t know me, one of my fears is that one day, a wild animal is going to break into our house and attack us and eat my cats (silly, right?). Ever since we moved to a neighborhood in the hills 7 years ago, coyote, skunk, and raccoon sightings have become commonplace. We’ve even had raccoons frequent our garage and stole the cat food. I didn’t really think about wild animals breaking into the house when we lived at our other home. We hardly saw anything other than the occasional stray cat or dog (several of which became family pets). I am no stranger to fear of “wild animal” attacks. Attending several summer camps located in the mountains and visiting friends who lived a ways away from civilization made that very clear to me.

About an hour or so after I had been sitting down there, I heard my mom whispering on the phone upstairs. “Close the windows!” she directed to me in an urgent manner. I listened closer and realized that she was on the phone with someone. I then heard “he’s on the greenbelt behind my house” and “he’s behind the tree”. That’s when I was sure that the mountain lion had magically travelled the 13 miles of freeways and residential areas and was in my backyard ready to eat me. Images of my cats getting eaten, me hiding in the closet, and the lion breaking through our glass sliding doors flashed through my mind as I ran to close the downstairs windows as my mom had ordered me. I wanted to look out so badly to see that it was the lion for sure. Dear readers, this is the part where the story gets very embarrassing very quickly. As it turns out, my mom was on the phone with the police, letting them know that it was a man (not a lion) behind our property and this man had a camera and was taking pictures with his camera facing my mom’s bedroom window (all whiled decked out in camouflage and reflective sunglasses). The police came and talked to the man and it turned out to be our next door neighbor.  I sure got a good laugh that day. Our neighbor apparently is a professional bird photographer and was photographing a hummingbird nest that was in our backyard (though it would have been more professional to ask our permission to go in our backyard instead of climbing over to our side of the greenbelt).

I don’t really know the point of this story, but do feel it is a decent example of how anxiety can make us all crazy and jump to conclusions. I probably should keep Celestial Seasonings Tension Tamer tea handy more often and stop worrying about things so much.