Tag Archives: st. vincent

I don’t think the past is better just because it’s cased in glass

Hello citizens of the Internet! I’m back (I know I promised in the last post that I was back, but now I’m really, really back!) and better than ever.

Along with the movies I’ve watched, the new music I’ve consumed (St. Vincent, Stromae, Run The Jewels, Fleet Foxes, Vampire Weekend — I KNOW, I’M BEHIND. I’M WORKING ON IT), the late nights laughing ’til my sides ached, I’ve done a couple big things.

(From left to right) Myself, Colin Robinson and Maurice Tomlinson at the Supreme Court of Jamaica during the court's recess on the first day of the hearing.

(From left to right) Myself, Colin Robinson and Maurice Tomlinson at the Supreme Court of Jamaica during a recess on the first day of the hearing.

In March I traveled to Jamaica to cover an immigration hearing for the Belize documentary. There I met Maurice Tomlinson, an absolutely outstanding Jamaican LGBT rights activist who explained the situation on the ground. Maurice lives in Canada — where he fled after he was outed without consent by a Jamaican newspaper — but returned to Jamaica to fight against immigration restrictions on homosexuals in Trinidad and Tobago and Belize. While there we explored Kingston, sat through the hearings and shot an interview that will help round out our film and put it into context with LGBT rights in the rest of the Caribbean, while simultaneously showing the plight of other activists.

Post-Jamaica (like immediately after, less than a week) I began interviewing for jobs in New York City. The job I wanted the most was the most prestigious. The interview spanned two days, and the second day was a grueling journalistic competition, to say the least. I was pitted against one international reporter, one University of Albany student and 10 (yes, 10) Columbia University School of Journalism graduate students. I felt like my odds were slim to none when I realized I was the only undergrad from a school no one had ever heard of. But the experience I accrued during my time working for Naples Daily News proved to be invaluable. I could speak to records requests, content creation and creative thinking, which was on par with my competitors. Although, apparently, none of us knew how to spell (which I still say is a dead skill at this point).

In April I was offered a position with this major international newspaper based in the UK. I’m going to refrain for saying which paper until I’m a little more established, but all I can say is I’m. So. Freaking. Excited. I’ll be living for approximately six months split between London and a soon-to-be-revealed city in England, working with a local bureau. Then I’ll return to London for a month before going to work in their Manhattan office. I guess dreams really do come true.

Dinner with my extended family after my interview in Manhattan.

Dinner with my extended family after my interview in Manhattan. I’m the one in beige on the far left.

The day I found out I got the job in London, I found out I was nominated for four Sunshine State Awards. I’ve been applying to the Sunshine State Awards for the last three years and I’ve pretty much set up a nice, little home in third place every time I apply. I’m nominated for College Journalist of the Year, Best Profile, Best Coverage of LGBT Issues and Best Coverage of Race/Minority Issues. I’ve always dreamed of winning College Journo of the Year, but the good news is the two other student nominees are not only phenomenally talented and beyond worthy, they’re also Will Write For Food alumni. It just goes to show how far a student journo can go if you trap them and their peers in a homeless shelter for 36 hours. If that sounds like something you’re interested in (and want to see a picture of me! — and read my contributions) click here. This year is an alumni year (crying forever because I will be in the UK and unable to attend), so new applicants won’t receive a spot. However, you can learn how to apply for 2016. Do it. Who knows? Maybe you’ll be the next College Journo of the Year.

My cousin Hayley and I at FGCU's Grad Bash.

My cousin Hayley and I at FGCU’s Grad Bash.

In May I graduated college. Anyone who knows me knows I have felt like college was a chain around my ankle, keeping me stuck in one place. A place I didn’t want to be. Well the chain is off, and I’m getting ready to spread my wings (oh, god. The cliches. I’m sorry.) and explore the world.

Before I move, I’m spending two weeks exploring Europe with my best friend. We’ll start in Berlin, head to Paris for a few days, then Amsterdam, and then I have to figure out a final city. I’m debating where I want to go, but let’s just say I have a few choices in mind.

For now, I’m just wrapping up my time at Naples Daily News, and trying to remember what relaxing is. Am I doing it yet? And, in all sincerity, I’m the happiest I’ve been in a while. And it’s a really nice feeling and a great place to be. I haven’t felt this way in many, many months. But I’m here now, and while I know the tide ebbs and flows, I’m enjoying this moment.

Now we’re all caught up! As these next adventures unfold, be prepared to hear a lot more from me. Until then, safe travels.

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Your skin’s so fair it’s not fair

St. Vincent changed my life.

Okay, I know that sounds a little dramatic, but it was easily the best show I’ve ever been to and music is my Jesus, ergo Annie Clark is just as much a god as I knew she would be.

St. Vincent performs at The Fillmore Miami Beach.

St. Vincent performs at The Fillmore Miami Beach.

I arrived at the Fillmore at Miami Beach for the Digital Witness Tour about 40 minutes prior to showtime and after a quick pit stop at the merch table where I purchased (and subsequently cut up) a shirt with the St. Vincent album art on it, I was able to get relatively close to the stage, the crowd still thin. The venue was gorgeous. A tiered pit with seats overlooking the stage as purple and white lit chandeliers dangled overhead.

The crowd was disappointingly small as showtime approached, but as the opener cleared the stage (a lone dude with a guitar whose songs went on for waaay too long), the crowd thickened and I was able to get right up to the bar. Front row.

The lights dimmed and an automated voice asked the “fellow analog” humans to enjoy the show for what it is and not through a cell phone (a request I promptly ignored. Sorry, Annie).

The opening song Rattlesnake began, it’s synth cords repeating as Annie Clark danced to the intro while the crowd screamed with delight.

The show then rocketed into a stream of songs, old and new, including Digital Witness, Cruel, Marrow, Birth in Reverse, I Prefer Your Love, Prince Johnny and Laughing With A Mouth of Blood. Each song had Clark either performing choreo with Toko (her bassist) or rolling around on the stage like a robot-cyborg possessed simultaneously by Keith Moon and Sylvia Plath. She easily played 20ish songs, which was absolutely mind-blowing.

Clark stopped twice to address the crowd, “While I don’t know you, I know things about you,” she said gently as the room quieted, hanging on each word. She described how we were born before the twenty first century, how sometimes when you walk on a street you pretend that people are celebrities or don’t have hands if they’re tucked into a sweater. How you smile and your lip curls down. All insane ramblings from the mind of a genius.

St. Vincent performs at The Fillmore Miami Beach.

St. Vincent performs at The Fillmore Miami Beach.

Clark finished the show with an encore of Your Lips Are Red, a song I’d only heard once prior to the show, and is now probably not only my song of the moment, but easily one of the best songs I’ve ever heard live. Your Lips Are Red is like a hive of bees that has just fallen to the ground. It hums and you wait as the tension builds until it breaks into screaming guitars and Clark writhing alive with the ghosts of rock and roll past.

At one point, Clark climbed onto the shoulders of a security guard and held her guitar over the audience for the mobbing hands to grasp and play. She came inches in front of me, just a mere finger-length away. I was looking into the face of a silver-haired god.

I can’t really put into words what her show was, but it was something else. Something worthy of the title of brilliance.

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Watch me jump right off the London Bridge

St. Vincent is tomorrow! I have been looking forward to this concert for months. If you haven’t listened to St. Vincent before, I would describe her as the Alexander McQueen of music. Her sound is avant garde and warmly disjointed. Melodically disconnected dissonance. To say it’s unique is being subtle.

Her last album, the self-titled St. Vincent, is an ode to the age of technology, where Annie Clark (St. Vincent) takes us on a skittering cyborg’s journey through the twenty first century. The single off the album, Digital Witness, has Clark crooning lines that resonate with the millennial generation in a way most artists have struggled with:

Digital Witnesses, what’s the point of evening sleeping? If I can’t show it, if you can’t see me, what’s the point of doing anything?”

Annie Clark a.k.a. St. Vincent.

Annie Clark a.k.a. St. Vincent.

One thing that I absolutely adore about Clark is her ability to intertwine literature, poetry, pop culture, satire and modern apathy into her songs. The final track on the St. Vincent album, Severed Crossed Fingers, is an homage to American novelist Lorrie Moore’s “Collection of Short Stories.”

“He thinks of severed, crossed fingers found perfectly survived in the wreckage of a local plane crash last year”

A song about hope even when the situation is completely hopeless. I love the imagery. Clark said in an interview “You’re really hoping it works out, and in the end it just doesn’t.”

Her previous albums such as Strange Mercy, Marry Me and Actor are equal masterpieces. Strange Mercy (my favorite album) is self-described by Clark as her interpretation of a 60s housewife on barbiturates. Songs like Cruel, Strange Mercy, Cheerleader, Surgeon and Chloe in the Afternoon are equally avant garde but have a more conventional melodic composition, occasionally spinning out into the disjointed dissonance, which is more prominent on St. Vincent.

She’s also just a total bad ass guitar goddess who puts most dudes to shame. Her insane riffs will raise the hair on the back of your neck and send butterflies humming in your gut. She’s that good.

Her shows are highly choreographed, and the rest of her band are in on the action. During songs like Birth in Reverse her bassist and keyboardist will perform choreo, perpetrated by Clark. It’s an over-the-top, confusing, brilliant performance from top to bottom.

St. Vincent will be playing at The Fillmore in Miami tomorrow night and you can expect a full breakdown of the show here on Tuesday. See you then, digital witnesses!

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