Monday, September 14, 2009

Thanks, Ani

Barack Obama called Kanye West a jackass for what he did to Taylor Swift at the VMAs (Video Music Awards). I have a feeling I am ignorant to the sheer volume of outbursts Kanye has had similar to this one. I don't really follow this stuff much, but happened to see the video on Huffington Post this morning. (I guess I was in a video watching mood because i also watched this awesome video.) This time, he jumped on stage just when the poor girl, Swift, was beginning to nervously stumble through a thank you speech.

I didn't actually watch the VMAs, but I agree with Obama, Kanye's a jackass. But that reporter shouldn't have twitted something he said off the record. While all this bullshit was brewing into intoxicatingly juicy fodder for People magazine to gossip about I was seeing Ani Difranco perform in Aurora, Illinois. She played in the same town where I went to high school. I rode my bike there, and didn't even have to take a train thirty miles before I rode it.

The show was at the Paramount Theatre, on Galena blvd. Ani kept talking about how great the building was, because she "[loves] old buildings." The Paramount is a cool place, I'd never been inside before, though I've passed it often.

I found out about the show yesterday morning, about 12 hours before it started, from an old high school classmate's facebook status. When I was sure that Ani Difranco was in fact playing less than 10 miles from my house I knew I had to go. I got to the show 45 minutes after it started. I don't know how it happened; one minute I was drinking a cup of iced coffee and it was 5:30, and then I looked at the clock and it was 7. Oh well, I didn't miss Ani. The house manager had to sell me a ticket in the gift store because the box office had closed by the time I got there, but it worked out just fine.

I bought the best seat in the house--front row and the exact center--45 minutes after the show started. She played a good mix of new and old material. I picked up her new album after the show, it isn't really very new. Red Letter Year came out in September of last year, but its new to me. And fuck, this record's good:

human beings are a cross
between monkeys and ants
you can see us from your spaceship
melting the polar ice caps
with our arrogance
summon a congress of angels
dressed in riot gear
we got ourselves a serious situation
down here

I've listened to more music in the past 24 hours than I have in the past week combined. And every note I've heard, except for a few songs on 89.1 in my mom's car, is from Ani's "new" album. I don't know if its my iPod dying or not downloading anymore music, but I've barely been listening to music lately. And besides one David Vandervelde album I bought on impulse over the winter everything I've listened to when I do listen to music is old.

The show was inspiring. Ani gives off all sorts of good vibes when she plays. She never stopped smiling, and I couldn't help but smile while she played for at least an hour less than 15 feet from where I sat.

The Paramount is a theatre, therefore it has seats, which was kind of strange for a show, but it was nice. A combination of Ani's peaceful and calming vibes and that comfortable chair made that set fly by. Even while seeing my favorite bands I often find myself checking the time, but I didn't do that once during Ani. I sat, perfectly content for the entire set, while she proved she really did "love her job," as she said at the beginning of the set.

I've been playing guitar, too. Lately I've been doing much more reading a writing than guitar playing, but I can see that changing. I need to get better at strumming those six strings so I can learn some of her songs!

I wrote a poem while she played, too. She gave off a creative vibe, too. Here it is, not quite finished, but close, I think:

From the Ani Difranco Performance, September 13, Aurora, IL, USA

I love this city watery breeze city where troops are being used support our troops love this city support sing folk rant sinning city with spitting stuck with city loving troops paradoxically feeling democracy’s spinal chasm as troops choose between the colors of lipstick on whores heading for brick was in city corner thank you America for being more than I expected now which side are you on bricks in our dendrites we have mortar for synapses and hands but we have troops are going for outside away from the splinters and televisions and splintered bricks I love this city and the water which it grew from mixed wi th sand and sement this theatre hand of humans handling bricks handling flowing floated watching ceilings which color means nothing while inside 21,000 splinters surge love this city watering breeze using folks create chasms in choice bodies bricks between troops and machines these are not pleasure machines for love city not supported bodies of bricks mortar handled out side troop users spent their tariffs on poppy now troops are grumbly taxis we love city with choice bodies and bricks melting pleasures chasms spelunked city singing of our city

Thanks, Ani, you've reignited my love for music. Now I think I have to buy a new iPod, though. At least they'll take my old one, recycle it, and give me 10 percent off a new one.

Peace and Love


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