Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Interpretive Dancing to Bob Dylan

Recently we upgraded our DVR and in the process we now have Pandora on our television. This provides a whole new way to attempt to elicit music reviews from 9-year-old DJ B, who hasn't done an official review in nearly three years.

This afternoon, while hosting her friend Miss L for a playdate, we decided to type in "Bill Orcutt Radio" to see what sort of playlist was generated. (We had slightly ulterior motives since experimental guitarist Orcutt is Miss L's dad.)

The girls rocked out to every track they heard (from Tom Waits to The Residents to Bill Orcutt himself), but it was the sight of Bob Dylan on the playlist ("Queen Jane Approximately") that prompted them to hit pause and run out of the room in search of costumes.

DJ B donned a tiny Dorothy costume, Rapunzel wig, Disney bridal veil Minnie Mouse ears, sunglasses in the shape of guitars, and ear protection headphones, while Miss L gravitated to a black Zombie costume (complete with mummy gauze), bright blue bob wig, and flip flops.

They danced around the room, with DJ B leading Miss L in a series of moves. When I asked what they thought of the Bob Dylan song, they said, "It was cool."

Monday, October 1, 2012

Mexican pop and the longest sandwich

Recently I convinced Miss B to select a few CDs from the public library, however, she's been reluctant to review them for me. She knows that I occasionally post her mini reviews on Facebook, and often groans when I do that. Today I asked her if I could bribe her to do a review and she said, "I don't know what that means." When I offered to let her pick something out from Target if she did some reviews, she relented.

Lately she's been doing a lot of intricate drawings, so I gave her the option of drawing a review instead of reciting one to me. As she listened to Confesionesby Ana Barbara and Jennifer Pena, she quickly got to work on her drawing. When she heard the second track of the Mexican pop CD she said, "I don't like this music. I don't like this one."

After she finished her drawing, Miss B said that a crab was eating "the longest sandwich." She also drew someone surfing. When I asked her what she thought of the music she said, "It's a old review?!"

Then she grabbed the computer and wrote:

i  did not like it  i sat in mom!

the title is called nothing?

i am angry at mom!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

No Wave is No Fun

135 Grand Street New York 1979
Well, leave it to nearly-5-year-old DJ B to turn her back on music review duties. When I put on a CD these days, she's most likely to turn it off immediately. She's much more interested in watching TV, playing with her dollhouse, crafting imaginary worlds with her Barbies, or doing art projects. 

But sometimes I actually have to listen to music in order to write reviews for the radio station where I DJ. Normally I do my music reviews while Miss B is in school; but this week she was home with a cold on my designated day for music listening. So, I broke the news to her and told her that she was not allowed to turn off the CD player because I had work to do.

I managed to listen to 3 entire releases without too much protest from her; but by the end of the third one, the soundtrack to the film 135 Grand Street New York 1979, she was over the whole process. Although I found the no wave music to be artful and compelling, DJ B argued that, "This music is too noisy and no fun. Turn it off. I'm bored!"

Monday, June 7, 2010

Miss B Accompanies They Might Be Giants on Air Guitar

Here Come The ABCs

A few months ago we took our visiting teenage nieces to Amoeba Records in San Francisco for some serious record shopping. During that trip each of us picked up some CDs (including DJ B). DJ B's dad was the only person to select a children's CD, the much-talked-about They Might Be Giants release Here Come The ABCs, and we finally got around to listening to it.

When I turned on the music, Miss B was sitting on the couch and began tapping her fingers. After I approached her for a reaction, her face cracked into a smile. Looking lethargic, she continued to lounge while she listened. Upon hearing a lyric about wine, she pointed to me and said, "You make wine." She then picked up a marble from the table, rolled it around on her belly and in her hands while kicking her feet on the couch.

By the time the 7th song came along ("Pictures of Pandas Painting"), she was inspired to play air guitar, then pretended to play guitar on a remote control. When the imaginary play wasn't satisfying anymore, she grabbed her pink princess guitar and played along with the music. After her bride game ended, she stopped to peruse the CD booklet and then donned her Minnie Mouse Ears bridal vein and asked for a bouquet.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Adios En Clave De Bolero. We Hardly Knew You.

The third CD from Miss B's most recent library excursion, a Spanish language collection called En Clave de Bolero, did not capture her attention. When I put it on for the first time, DJ B put her fingers in her ears. She was playing with a toy dollhouse and ignored the music entirely. I turned it down a bit since it seemed to be too loud for her and she continued to work on her project of removing address label stickers from her plastic dollhouse. Yet, after a few songs she pushed stop on the player, removed the CD and handed it to me wordlessly. When I asked her about it she said, "I don't like it. You told me I could watch a movie."

Obviously bored with the flurry of CD reviews that I was asking of her, Miss B reached her breaking point. I relented and let her watch a DVD that she picked up from the library.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

The Little Willies' Fly Funeral Music

The Little Willies

While at the public library DJ B selected the self-titled CD from The Little Willies from the shelf. The copy that she picked up had a purple cover and I'm sure that was part of the allure. Upon listening to it for the first time, Miss B smiled and hopped around before asking me the name of the band. She ran in place, kicking her feet and then ran and kicked going forward and backwards with her hands on her hips.

Miss B said, "It's like Kai-Boy music!.... No, cowboy!" I asked her if she wanted it louder and she yelled, "Don't write! Just watch." She then did a plie and jumped to the beat. After putting on some lip gloss she hummed along to the music and lip synced using her lip gloss wand as a microphone. 

After some technical difficulties (the CD skipped), Miss B sang, "sitting on a's what I did. Took off my shoes." She then applied lip gloss to her toe nails, spun in a circle, and made herself dizzy. She turned her attention to some dead bugs on the window sill and told me that she was sad, saying that the bugs probably needed a hug. She asked me how they died and said that she wanted to write a letter to them. She dictated it to me: "Dear Fly. I love you so much. I am the owner. The bug is my pet. Love, B."

It's amazing how quickly a dance party turned into a memorial service for a dead fly. That's the beauty of the 4-year-old mind.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Cranky DJ B Despises Opera

Denyce Graves - Voce di Donna

Well, it was finally time to return Seussical to the public library, so DJ B was invited to turn her attention to some of the other CDs that she's selected over the past few weeks. First up was Denyce Graves' release Voce di Donna. The first time we played it DJ B exclaimed "too opera-y!," a surprising comment since she went through a heavy-duty opera phase in which she listened to non-stop Verdi and even borrowed a neighbor's collection of opera DVDs.

I probed further and asked her if she liked opera, to which she responded "no!" I should probably mention that she was already in a bad mood before we put the CD on, so I should have anticipated this response. She played with a book she'd been looking at, grunted, folded her arms across her chest, and grunted some more. I noticed, however, that her toe was rhythmically tapping in the air. She looked at the CD booklet, tossed it up above her, and said, "This is boring! This is too boring! Too opera-y and too boring! I just wanna eat! No music!" She grunted, folded her arms again, but then started to rock back and forth when track 2 came on, bobbing her head and tapping her toe on the floor. She grunted at me with a scowl on her face and said, "Sit with me and turn this off. I don't like it," before screaming, "Turn it off!" She then, finally, resorted to taking control of the CD player and turned it off herself.

Today I played the CD again (after feeding her lunch) and Miss B's first reaction was similar to the last time. She yelled, "Opera. Boring!" But then she immediately started to sing along and do ballet moves to the music. Appropriately, she was already wearing 3 layers of leotards and 2 tutu skirts. She smiled as she performed for me, dancing and then balancing a frisbee on her head.

The lesson from all of this is that mood and food are clearly correlated with DJ B's reception of opera music.