Sunday, April 19, 2009

Record Store Day with DJ B

I feel like it's my duty as a music-loving parent to share with DJ B the importance of record stores. They've certainly been a key part of my own music education, from the chain stores at the mall during my childhood, to Tower Records during my teens, to the indie record stores that I frequented in college to score $2.99 "cut-out" LPs (and cassettes!) of new releases from bands like The Smiths and Chameleons UK.

And, I especially have fond memories of all the great record shops in San Francisco, where I've found amazing gems and have seen intimate in-store performances by a wide range of musicians. One of the oldest Tower Records, on Bay Street in San Francisco ( it's a green dry cleaner) used to host lunch-time free shows. It was so cool to take a long lunch and trek over there to see the likes of Sonic Youth (in the parking lot!). Back when I was super obsessed with Robyn Hitchcock, I'd track him down at every record shop in-store in the city, including a show on Haight (maybe at the now-closed Reckless Records?) and an awesome acoustic set at a long-gone record shop on Folsom near Brainwash.

I've also seen many of my faves at Amoeba, including Smog, Sleater-Kinney, Will Oldham, and many others. You can actually scan through photos of past in-stores (400+ performances) to get a sense of the cool shows they've had.

So, to celebrate Record Store Day yesterday, the Mr. and I took Miss B over to Aquarius Records in San Francisco. Within minutes of our arrival, her eyes were drawn to a new release by Thee Oh Sees. She pointed to it, excitedly telling me about the bat on the cover. Since I have heard and like their music I offered to pick it up for her. We then moved on to a bargain rack of CDs for $3.99 and I told Miss B to take a look. She grabbed a seat on the floor and happily scanned through a pile, choosing a couple that she liked. In future posts we'll cover her reviews of the actual music, but according to the guys at Amoeba, one of the selections is some all-female stoner rock. Right on!

Did you take your DJ-in-training to a record store this weekend? What did you buy?

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Butterfly Dancing to Colbie Caillat

I managed to convince DJ B to select some new CDs from the public library, so indeed there is still life left in this project! The first album to catch her attention when we got home was Colbie Caillat's CD "Coco." I had never heard of this artist, but from the opening notes I felt like I was in an episode of "The Hills" (my only barometer for mainstream pop hits). And, indeed, this must be a popular CD, as it's one of the few that we've checked out that's had a "hold" placed on it by another library patron, meaning that we can't renew it. (Yep, apparently she's a MySpace sensation with her acoustic/soul/folk stylings.)

When we played the CD, Miss B smiled at the cover, then lifted her leg like a ballerina doing an arabesque and then began doing leaps across the room. She continued to dance and grabbed a pink blanket as a prop, which she waved, spun, and dragged while galloping to and fro. She then invited me to join her, saying, "It's your turn to dance with me. Stand up. Now it's your turn to do Aurora dance." Miss B demanded that I dance with her and said, "Close your eyes." She danced on her tip toes, did some slow maneuvers, and then channeled a butterfly, saying, "You're the green butterfly and I'm the pink butterfly. Put your wings out. C'mon little butterfly." At this point we both were dancing with blankets (aka wings). Miss B nuzzled a bit with me, flapped her arms as if in flight, then turned down the volume, saying, "It's time to go to bed butterfly. It's time to go to bed little buddy. Little butterfly is getting tired."

For DJ B, this was satisfying music for butterfly dancing. And that's high praise from a 3-year-old.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Ballet and Princesses Rule for DJ B

As I sit and watch Miss B in her brand new Aurora dress (bought today) staring at the TV, immersed in a Sleeping Beauty video, I'm reminded that as the parent of a 3-year-old I often find myself submitting to her demands. And, admittedly, I get a lot of joy out of seeing her glee when surrounded by her favorite things. These days DJ B is obsessed with ballet and princesses, so Aurora from Sleeping Beauty is just tops.

I was out of town recently and in one of the JFK Airport gift shops I spotted the CD, "Music from the Ballet," and knew I had to get it for DJ B. As expected, she was elated from the opening notes. When the music started she smiled and said, "...that was Aurora...oh, man...oh man [laughing]...this was Aurora." She recognized the opening track ("Sleeping Beauty Waltz") and knew it was from Sleeping Beauty, saying, "I just gotta put on an Aurora dress for this." She then did some spins in a circle and galloped , while telling me, "This is a circle that I'm doing like Aurora." Miss B kept smiling while she continued with her ballet moves and danced on her tip toes. I asked her where she'd heard the music before. Miss B replied, "I heard it from the ballet." Later she said, "Know what I'm going to wish for with dadda? An Aurora dress!"

As the music proceeded to another ballet, DJ B stopped the CD and kept repeating the music from Sleeping Beauty. Eventually she made her way through the rest of the CD, dancing with wands, bows, and bowing dramatically at the end of pieces. She was particularly excited to hear music from the Nutcracker too, squealing, "It's Nutcracker! I have it on TV too!" She then asked me to put a ribbon in her hair so that she could look like Clara from the Nutcracker.

I just love that music can wield this kind of power, as it beseeches Miss B to re-live the stories and ballets that she adores.