Music, Uncategorized

Getting Carded is Music to My Ears (…so is Charlene Kaye)

Chatterbox Chipmunks, I’ve been lied to. There’s no way I’m turning 30 in April. I can’t remember much from those early years, so for all I know, life began in 1986 and not 1982 like my birth certificate would lead you to believe.

That’s right. I’m not a day over 25.

My taste in accessories (slap bracelets) and hair styles (side ponies) suggests not a nostalgic fondness for the styles of my youth, but rather a hipster-esque desire to embrace ‘vintage’ trends.

I’m the baby of the family.

Of my friends.

I’m the young one!!

Me!!!

Er, meet my new friend, 21-year-old Christie:

Remember Christie? We met two weeks ago cavorting outside the “How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying” stage door, exactly the way smart, funny, adorable girls in their early twenties meet.

Christie is as sweet as a teeny, tiny baby chipmunk and attends a crazy-good school to study architecture.  We met up this past Thursday in lower Manhattan to see my fellow 25(ish)-year-old, Charlene Kaye, perform at the Rockwood Music Hall.

I wore a $4 white thermal shirt from Old Navy. You know, ’cause us young kids just don’t give a shiz*. The guy who carded me even said I was “a baby.” Now, I won’t be greedy. I’ll settle for 25.

That was the highlight of the night.

Kidding!

Kinda.

Charlene Kaye was brilliant, and managed to fill the venue, despite playing a 7pm set on a Thursday night. She performed for a mere 45 minutes, which is my only complaint. Charlene’s voice is pure and unique – both haunting and comforting. She can incorporate hip-hop beats into her music just as easily as power ballad piano riffs.

I'm a terrible photographer, but I think you can still see that Charlene is the cat's pajamas.

We said hello to Charlene after her set (there were high-fives exchanged…they have become cool and hip, so naturally I was included), and she asked if she’d see us again. Sure, Charlene, we’ll be at your CD release party in March – if I’ve finished my term paper I’m not too tired after work to make the commute.

Here’s a taste of my favorite song of Charlene’s, the title track of her soon-to-debut album, Animal Love:

*Until said young kid arrives home and realizes her tanning lotion has rubbed off on the sleeves.

What age do you want to relive so badly it makes you cry into your orange-stained sleeves?

Music, PSAs, Uncategorized

The Anti-Guilty Pleasure

The gloriously talented Charlene Kaye. (Photo credit: http://4.bp.blogspot.com)

I’ve been mulling this topic over for a while. I’m sure, given that you’ve memorized all of my posts, you can recall my first (and only) Public Service Announcement. “Is that the anti-guilty pleasure?” I’ve wondered. “Charitable acts? Something you feel good about liking/doing? Or is it something that brings you displeasure? Like dieting.”

I’m pretty sure it’s the former. (And as a [self-proclaimed] subject matter expert, let’s just go with what I think.)

To that end, I’d like to talk about Kickstarter! It’s kind of the coolest thing ever. I had no idea what it was until a musician I adore, Charlene Kaye, started sending out Tweets about backing her next album. Kickstarter, according to their home page, is ‘a new way to fund and follow creativity.’ It’s very similar to how you might support someone in a charity walk, minus the depressing statistics and self-righteousness. Each artist has their own page where they can include background info, videos and details about what you’ll receive depending on how much you donate to their next/current project.

This week, thanks to 342 backers, Charlene reached her 30k goal (she hit her original 20k goal so quickly she upped the ante) and I’m going to make out like a bandit! I get an advanced autographed copy of that album I helped fund, for starters, along with a host of other goodies, like an exclusive mp3 and sticker/button set, the value of which certainly exceeds the $35 I donated.

The greatest reward, of course, is knowing I helped a struggling/up-and-coming artist get by without having to resort to things like prostitution. Or waitressing. And when they hit it big, I can take some of the credit! (Okay, so maybe there’s a little self-righteousness in this after all.)

I’d love to hear about any of your Kickstarter (or similar) experiences, as well as your thoughts on the anti-guilty pleasure!

Now please, enjoy a live performance of the title track of Charlene Kaye’s next album, Animal Love:

Music, Uncategorized

Let Your GLEEk Flag Fly

Fellow guilty pleasure enthusiasts, I think you’ll be proud. I’ve just spent the last two days Googling, Wikipedia-ing and generally cyber-stalking one Mr. Darren Criss. Isn’t technology grand?

If the name Darren Criss doesn’t sound familiar, fear not, I am here to enlighten you. (You might want to jot that name down, though, because I think this kid is going places.) 24-year-old Darren Criss’s shining face and golden voice have been wooing us for the past several months on “Glee,” where Criss plays Blaine, Kurt’s very first gay friend and co-crooner of the Dalton Academy Warblers. Not only does Criss fully commit to the preppy blue blazer and campy dance routines, he does a mean version of Katy Perry’s, “Teenage Dream.”

What really got my GOGP-meter firing on all cylinders was last week’s episode, when Blaine finally grasped his feelings for Kurt. He captured the moment of realization silently, brilliantly, in one of those magic scenes that makes me want to quit my day job and crash the set, so that I can witness firsthand the next ground-breaking episode. (I know it’s FOX, but when’s the last time you saw network television romanticize a same-sex relationship between high schoolers, during primetime, no less?)

I was sure that this Darren Criss fellow had to be drawing on personal experience to deliver the aforementioned performance, but am now convinced (thanks to an enlightening Vanity Fair article) that he is straight. Impressive. He was raised in San Francisco and graduated from the University of Michigan, where he studied drama, which explains his ambigious-seeming sexual orientation. He’s got a fairly robust resume and even released an EP on iTunes last year (check out “Not Alone“).  He is featured in two music videos with Charlene Kaye, a fellow U. of Michigan alum, lest any of his vocal chops go to waste.

But here’s the real clincher – he and his U. of Michigan classmates founded Team StarKid, and in 2009 produced a play called “A Very Potter Musical,” which, to date, has nearly 5 million hits on YouTube.  Criss portrays Harry and is credited as one of the primary songwriters on this and other StarKid productions.

Darren, you go girl. I mean, good lookin’ out, bro.