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An Intro to Uke, Day 49

March 27, 2010

I could so easily write two blogs tonight, but at 2:30 in the morning with a tired head before an important first rehearsal tomorrow, I think I’ll save my fears about the state of this nation’s overall health and lack of complete education about food and fitness for another day.  For my part, I really did take a page from Dr. Shamil’s blog today and took one of my rare but ridiculously leisurely supermarket trips to the neighborhood organic store, Frank’s Market,to begin reforming my cooking and eating habits.  Every time I make a change in my diet or perspective on eating, such as the time I removed saturated fats from my cabinets and when I became a vegetarian, I spend a stupid amount of time staring at labels in the grocery store.  Annoying, I know, but otherwise one cannot make realistic choices about her food intake.

After buying some salmon, locally produced sweet and sour sauce, and other healthy items from the store (including whole grain bread I had no initial interest in purchasing), I intend to start actually following some of the recipes on Dr. Shamil’s blog to see if I can motivate myself to practice what I preach.  Despite a day of healthy eating so far, I do feel a bit tired after throwing in a short workout session at the gym, in New York Sports Club’s incredibly over-chlorinated pool.  Well – at least my skin will stay clear for some time. Despite the chemicals, I began to stretch myself and my breathing technique.  Though I think one swims only about 16.5 meters per lap at the small pool at the Crowne Plaza NYSC, I do know that I managed to swim two of those short laps, with a freestyle flip turn, without taking any breaths along the way.

Failing to accomplish this the first time I attempted it and otherwise just swimming one lap without a breath, I found myself incredibly surprised to discover a feeling I had not experienced probably since I swam on the Kingston Estates swim team as a child.  Something about completely running out of air to the point that my body will cause me to breathe above or underwater regardless of my brain’s intentions felt a little insane and wonderful all at once.  Even now as a poorer American in this century, I still go through life with so many comforts that I forget the exhilarating sensation of immediate instinctual need.  Doubtless, fighting that instinct in order to better my breathing for singing will challenge and excite me in a way I didn’t imagine.

Tonight’s Ukulele Cabaret also went far beyond my imagination and opened my eyes to this incredible instrument and the talented people in New York city making some great music, both serious and sometimes hilariously comic. For me, Sarah King would have made the trip worthwhile on her own.  Do yourself a huge favor and visit Sarah King’s myspace page to listen to her recording of My Bed is a Boat, with lyrics from the Robert Louis Stevenson poem.  Believe me when I say she exudes even more talent and charm in person, and I only wish the sound system, lighting, and my poorly planned phone recording could have done her justice, but alas.  She has a sweet demeanor on stage that complements her other life as a child care provider, and her voice sings in an great old fashioned manner that transported me to another era in a very pleasant way.  Truly, I could not more highly recommend an artist and have not had so much fun at a performance since Ariana Chris and I attended a filming of Elvis Costello’s Spectacle with Jenny Lewis, She & Him (I love Zooey Deschanel), and Jakob Dylan more than a year prior.

Please forgive this pitiful excuse of a recording (I will start bringing my camera around with me in the future), but I have to post at least a couple of videos for you to see the fun we had tonight.  In this one, Sweet Soubrette and Sonic Uke play together for the audience:

Much gratitude to Suzanne Schwing, who invited me along to hear her friends play as Ukemen.  Although the evening’s roster of at least 20 performers had varying levels of skill, Andy Bergmann, Rush Kress and Greg Farkas all played brilliantly together, mixing classic and modern rock and actually rap, in one song.  Rush Kress had a clearly trained voice surprisingly suited for the genre and venue, and the entire band carried a fun and easy demeanor and kept a very happy audience involved and entertained throughout.  Here’s a clip of Ukemen playing Hungry Like the Wolf:

Finally, I would regret not mentioning Jamie Scandal, who hilariously used comedy and ukulele together with Donald Trump wigs and posters whose characters strip their little clothes off throughout her song.  Talking about her crushes on celebrities, she draws the audience members into her fantastically unsubtle and intentionally obvious humor.  To get a taste of her comedic stylings, check out this youtube video of her song about Leonardo DiCaprio.  If you choose to skip ahead, the “Leoleo” song begins about three minutes and thirty seconds into the selection.

I had a fantastically surprising day which seems to have selected me; I met some wonderful people and experienced an eye-opening night with the ukulele.  Go figure.  Recently, my sweet mother expressed her concern that I “get something really great soon.”  I may have financial difficulties, as an understatement, and I do have some uncertainties in my life.  In truth, I wouldn’t mind a little more security, but I absolutely love this life right now, just as it is.

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