Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Singles of the Week: November 29

Hip Hop: “I Luv My Life”- Nitty Scott

Right from the title through the laugh it concludes with, Nitty Scott’s “I Luv My Life” lets you know exactly how Scott feels about her life. She loves it. But whereas most rap songs about how great the artist’s life is focus exclusively on all the shit they have that you don’t, making you feel small and insignificant, Nitty’s jam makes you feel good about your life too. Lyrically, she keeps it down to earth and relatable. You instantly recognize the feelings Nitty is talking about, even if you’ve never been in her situation. The beat is structured around a laid-back acoustic guitar groove interspersed with a synth hook and simple drumming that gives Scott plenty of room to work. And she goes to work. Scott can spit. Straight up. So take Nicki Minaj out of your rotation. A new femcee deserves time in your speakers.

Youtube it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jw3YIxEJLVY

-Trap Yates ‘14

Alternative Rock: “Don’t Walk Away”- Sick Puppies

Sick Puppies was virtually unknown until their track “Maybe” appeared on NOW 36 as a NOW What’s Next Bonus Track. This Australian band’s new CD, Tri-Polar, was released last month and features the song “Don’t Walk Away.” Although classified as an alternative rock song, the song sounds like a rock version of Ryan Cabrera. A striking similarity to Ryan Cabrera is the somewhat unusual chord progressions that clash at the end of the verses and chorus. As a whole, the song is easy to listen to and has pretty good lyrics. This is definitely a band I’d follow in the next few months—they have star potential.

Youtube it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oslt7EgHkSQ

-Lisa Fierstein ‘14

Electronic: “Inner Sanctum” – DVAS

Canadian duo Jered Stuffco and Darren Veres of DVAS recently dropped a fresh new album called “Society,” a compilation of club dance beats that hit the top of Canadian college radio charts. Now, “Society” is burning up across iTunes and radio stations in the states. Their single “Inner Sanctum” is just one of the many songs that has experienced exceptional success, invoking the synth pop sensibilities of notorious electronic musicians like Daft Punk with a disco twist. Whether or not you find yourself dancing to it, running to it, working to it, or just letting it wash over you, “Inner Sanctum” is a guaranteed stress-reliever.

Youtube it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h5s4GqpqqHo

-Lisa Han ‘13


Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Trend of the Week - Princeton Air Edition: The Weather?

As a native New Jerseyan, even I am utterly confused by the bipolar weather the Princetonian atmosphere has been dishing out these past few weeks. Coming back from Fall Break, I thanked my lucky stars that I had remembered to grab my winter coat as I ran out to catch my train, and for two days was wearing it all times, while by week’s end I felt perfectly comfortable in just a T-shirt. This pattern has been continuing non-stop since our return from break—chilly to freezing to mild and back again, with rhyme, reason and seasonal propriety eschewed.

Usually, one can count on the cold to kick in definitively by Thanksgiving, but this year the universe (global warming? Voldemort?) seems to be whistling to its own tune. The most interesting effect this has had is the wide range of outerwear one can see on a walk down Elm—a scarf, hat and gloves can easily be followed by a thin, long sleeve T, and depending on the hour, they can both be right.

The only thing the air has yet to dish out is snow… and for that I eagerly await. Last year’s snow day still stands as a beacon of awesomeness in my freshman year, and I eagerly anticipate a repeat performance. Let’s just hope it stays cold enough for the flakes to fall!

If you think weather is boring, here’s a way to make it more exciting:


Happy Thanksgiving!

-Nava Friedman '13


Fashion Trend of the Week: Eggplant Purple and Olive Green

Walking around campus this week, I couldn’t help but notice two new popular colors—eggplant purple and olive green. They are everywhere, from sweaters to corduroys to everything in between!

Purple and green jackets are the most popular way to wear these colors right now. Most people choose purples and greens that are pretty dark in order to tone down the jacket, and this is definitely a good choice. A lime green jacket is a pretty big statement to make on campus. But more power to you if you would like to give it a shot! A lot of these jackets, considering they are pretty fashion-forward, feature cool details such as metallic buttons or interesting closures. If you are looking to get a gemstone-colored jacket, it is a good idea to look for something with an interesting detail or a unique style in order to set yourself apart from the crowd. Personally, I like this jacket from sheknows.com (right). Not only does the jacket feature metallic buttons, but the flaps by the shoulders, as opposed to a simple collar, offer a different take on a common style. Although a guy cannot wear the purple jacket below, there are definitely some great options out there. For example, the Buffalo Jeans Jacket below is a way to wear dark green while still looking cool (below).

If you want to be unique, colored corduroys are the way to go. Most people get that orange-rust color, navy blue, and black, but stand out by wearing olive green or purple ones. Stores such as the Gap offer a lot of different colors and styles of corduroys, giving you the ability to pick out a style and color that fit your personal style. The olive green pair (at right) even offer 5 pockets! Guys, this is the perfect style for you! Most of you already wear corduroys around campus, so test-drive a new color for a while—you’ll be glad you did!

These two colors have been all over the runway as stylish colors for this fall and winter. Designers such as Jill Stuart and Oscar de la Renta had models in purple on their runways back in October (you can see their styles to the right). Marc Jacobs and Burberry Prorsum had models wearing olive green, as pictured below, which illustrates the growing “military trend” of the past year or so.

Olive green and eggplant purple are highly fashionable this season. I would definitely take a look this weekend to see if you can find some great Black Friday deals on some of the trendiest clothes this season, especially if the item comes in olive or eggplant. Then you are good to go!

-Lisa Fierstein '14


Mixtape of the Week: Johnny Polygon - The Catch-Up

I have no idea why I’ve never heard of Johnny Polygon. He can rap. He can sing without Auto-Tune assistance. His lyrics are genuinely clever, defying typical mixtape convention. Some of the top mixtape DJs craft his beats. His hair is out of control. Maybe it’s because he’s from Oklahoma?

Whatever the reasons, the fact that Polygon is so far under the radar of the general populace is borderline criminal. This becomes clear across the sprawling thirty tracks on his new mixtape, appropriately called “The Catch-Up.” Designed for the still-sleeping to get up to speed on Polygon, the tape covers his career from the age of 17 to now.

It’s a scattershot career. The songs range in length, topic, style, tone, and musicality. They vary in quality. But despite the tape’s lack of a focus, the promise Polygon shows throughout it is undeniable. I feel like Polygon is one hit collaboration from breaking into the mainstream. He already made waves with “The Riot Song,” and a Nas collaboration. My prayer is that someone uses Polygon like Kanye did Kid Cudi on 808’s and Heartbreak, and Polygon will enter the mainstream cultural consciousness.

As for the tape itself, it’s hard to take away a single song as indicative of the talent involved. I’m partial to “I Been Runnin,” “Push It Back,” and “The Riot Song,” each of which shows a different side of Polygon. But get the whole tape, sift through it at your leisure, and keep an eye out for Polygon.

The tape can be found on Polygon’s site here.

The surprisingly clever video for “The Riot Song”

-Trap Yates '14


Sunday, November 21, 2010

A Dramatic Reading of Noa Noa, the Script that Was Almost a Film

In the late 1800s, French artist Paul Gauguin epitomized the dramatic persona of a struggling artist. Upon his return from his first voyage to Tahiti, Gauguin not only came back with a taste for savage and mythical visions on canvass, but an intent to construct the myth of his own artistic facade. Gauguin’s Paradise Remembered is comprised of 32 works and ten revolutionary woodcuts, intended for his book, Noa Noa. Though the book failed to become published, the illustrations have remained as highly influential works to the creative community.

To introduce the exhibition, the Princeton University Art museum hosted a dramatic reading of a script that was almost a film on Thursday about Gauguin’s experiences, titled “Noa Noa,” and written by James Agee. Armed simply with stands and few props, the cast brought alive a powerful story in a matter of just two weeks. Check out the event in the video below:

--Lisa Han '13


Friday, November 19, 2010

Classic Movie of the Week: Kind Hearts and Coronets (1949)

Long before Alec Guinness was Obi-Wan Kenobi (or Prince Feisal or Colonel Nicholson for that matter), he played eight characters in what is one of the best black comedies ever made. Kind Hearts and Coronets is the story of
Louis D'Ascoyne Mazzini (Dennis Price), related to the aristocratic D’Ascoyne family. Louis’s mother married his father for love in spite of his lowly position as an opera singer and was promptly disowned. Even her dying wish to be buried in the family crypt is disregarded by her haughty relatives. Louis is disgusted by their conduct and decides that the only solution is to murder the remaining D’Ascoyne family members (all played by Alec Guinness) to avenge his mother and inherit their dukedom.

The whole twisted story is narrated with the greatest dry British humour by Louis himself and so, what could be a drama becomes a hilarious comedy. For example, after Louis unties a boat in which an older relative (played by Alec Guinness of course) was cavorting with his younger mistress and causes them both to fall over a waterfall to their deaths, he tells the audience, “I was sorry about the girl, but found some relief in the reflection that she had presumably during the weekend already undergone a fate worse than death.”

For a clip of a few extremely comical death scenes, click here.

For the trailer (which is not nearly as amazing as the above clip), click here.

Kind Hearts and Coronets is available in the Mendel Music Library and through Netflix.


Thursday, November 18, 2010

Mission Possible: MOMS Prepares to Launch its Debut Album

1 band, 1 month, 15,000 dollars. This is what it’s going to take for Princeton’s favorite orchestral alumni band, Miracles of Modern Science, to finally release their long-awaited debut full-length album. But as daunting as the figures seem, it takes no stretch of the imagination or even miracle to succeed in this endeavor.

In a world of Bittorrent, iTunes, and social networking, artists around the world are finding that spending months haggling with record labels and producers is a hassle, but it’s also unnecessary. This is where online crowd-fundraising services like Kickstarter come in. As indie rock musicians on the frontier of digital space, the members of MOMS are launching themselves on a new mission. Rather than put themselves at the mercy of traditional procedures, they have turned to fans to help them cover costs of mixing, mastering, pressing, packaging, distributing and promoting their album.

So far, the response on their Kickstarter site has been very positive. At $7,711 dollars and 143 backers, MOMS are already halfway to their goal, with an impressive 21 days left before the project ends.

“We’re hoping the Princeton community and alumni network will catch on and help us hit our target,” said Evan Younger ’08, MOMS’ lead vocalist and double bassist.

In fact, MOMS’ frequent concerts on campus means that their album is to many students both familiar and all the more exciting to look forward to. Part of the recording even took place in Terrace Club over spring break, where the vacancy allowed a good opportunity to record drums.

The 11 track album itself is a culmination of six months of recording and six years of writing and performing. But according to Younger, it’s been worth the wait:

“We’re really, really proud of how it’s sounding. This is the first time we feel that a recording really does justice to our live energy. Spaceman Sound did a fantastic job of capturing the natural sounds of the string instruments, drums, and vocals, so when you listen back it feels like the band is playing in the room with you.”

Before December 9th, you can go check out their Kickstarter and watch their informational video at: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/moms/miracles-of-modern-science-release-their-debut-alb Contributions can range anywhere from $1 to over $3000, but if the $15,000 mark is not reached by the deadline the project will not be funded at all. Check it out! With Kickstarter, students and fans alike are given the opportunity to participate not only in the future of the band, but also the future of the music industry.

-Lisa Han '13


Sunday, November 14, 2010

Fashion Trend of the Week: Fleece Jackets

It is mid-November, and it isn’t quite cold enough to warrant breaking out your puffy winter coat. However, you need to stay warm as you walk across campus. How can you do this? Simple: By wearing a fleece jacket.

Fleece jackets are all the rage on campus right now, especially because many residential colleges gave them to students this fall. This is probably the most useful free item will you receive on campus (other than food). These jackets are light-weight enough to give you full movement of your torso and arms, something you can’t say about puffy winter jackets. Fleece jackets are very warm, but are very thin as well, giving you the ability to comfortably wear a backpack around campus. Practicality is one of the best parts about fleece jackets.

By far the most popular fleece color is black. Black jackets are much more mellow that bright colors or even pastels, so a lot of people opt for black. Also, since black is a unisex color, residential colleges opted to hand out black fleeces to the incoming freshmen. However, black is probably the most boring color out there. If you happen to be wearing a residential college fleece, be sure to display your college’s shield with pride. There is no reason to cover up the shield with a scarf, backpack strap, or, for girls, your hair.

One great thing about fleece jackets are the zippered pockets. They are perfect for items such as gloves, your prox, your cell phone, and other small items. However, just because you have pockets does not mean you should stuff them to overflowing. It looks ridiculous when you have two tennis ball-sized lumps on your hips from overstuffing your pockets. If you really have that much stuff to carry, bring a bag (for girls) or a backpack (for guys).

One way to make a plain fleece more fashionable is to wear a scarf. Girls—scarves should make a statement. A plain knit scarf does not make the cut here, especially when you end up wearing the scarf in class. Knit scarves tend to be really bulky and look pretty ridiculous when you are wearing them in lecture. Try to wear a thin scarf that says something about you, whether it is leopard printed or covered in sequins. Guys—unfortunately, scarves don’t really work for you. If you feel you must wear a scarf, don’t. Wait until it is really cold.

Probably the most popular brand of fleece is North Face. North Face fleeces come in every single color imaginable and are very durable. Although a bit pricey, they are certainly well worth the money. The North Face, shown above, even features two breast pockets, which are great for cash or your prox when you don’t want to carry a bag.

Fleeces are the most popular jackets on campus right now. Whether it be from your residential college or from somewhere else, a good fleece is definitely worth its price. You can even wear it under your winter jacket when it gets cold! I wouldn’t be caught without a fleece on campus!

--Lisa Fierstein '14


Friday, November 12, 2010

Theater Review: "Waiting" by Princeton Chinese Theater

Multiple stories with independent characters connected by a central frame seem to be in vogue these days. But a multi-plot production centered around the concept of waiting is still unique enough to grab your attention. Waiting, that state of inertia, seems to be the antithesis of theatre, which depends on acting, on motion pictures, on progressing plot. It certainly provokes some thought even before one enters the theatre. But one can say that this inherent contradiction was never quite reconciled in the production of Waiting, put on by the Princeton Chinese Theatre. Oh, did I mention, all this abstract contemplation on waiting, alienation, estrangement…was done completely in Chinese! (with English subtitles, don’t worry)

The best part about Waiting is the beauty of the language, which sadly, might be lost through translation. Most of the thought-provoking meditation on the concept of waiting is done through understated monologues that do not involve animated body language. It’ll be hard to pick up on the meaning if you don’t hear the speech. However, the language really brings out the sense of poignancy and frustration in the characters. For the seven characters, waiting takes many different forms. An estranged family awaits reconciliation, yet they cannot forget the past events that broke them apart. Two smitten young men hope expectantly for their love to be reciprocated. An old man relives the past, perpetually waiting for something that is long gone. An old woman bitterly describes a marriage, in which the love has decayed, as aimless waiting. Aided by the music and voice overlays simulating thoughts, the audience can definitely feel the pathos of each character as he/she is introduced.

The pitfall of a play about waiting is that as the mood of waiting pervades the characters on stage, so does the audience get the sense that it is waiting. The tragedy of these characters is that their life does not move forward, and as a consequence, neither does the plot. The goal of the play may be to recreate this lethargic feeling of waiting among the audience, so that they can fully identify with the characters. If so, should achieving this goal really be desired? The meditative pacing, the ruminating gaze into the distance, the hesitating potency of the silences all contribute very well to this sense of waiting. But the plot stops moving, the plot waits, and the audience waits. They lose their vested interest in a plot that does not seem to suggest progression in the near future. The old man paces as before, the lovers have the same dialogue that leads to no fruition – this is of course necessary in conveying the sense of waiting and repetitive monotony. But there’s the danger of making “waiting” too real for the audience. The most interesting things happen when the characters are not waiting. There are really humorous interludes and even a funny, quirky musical number. That’s when the characters have the license to be active, to act! So to get the audience to feel the poignancy of waiting, the audience needs to be interested in the plot, and actions need to happen that does not involve waiting. It is somewhat contradictory.

One can appreciate what the play is trying to do, and in theory, the play has done exactly what it wanted to do. It is a provocative topic – the idea of waiting. But in actual practice, it is not quite as enjoyable to vicariously relive “waiting.”

Rating : 3 stars out of 5

Pro: Accurately capture all the facets of the idea of waiting

Con: Too accurately capture the idea of waiting…

November 12 – 8 pm

November 13 – 2 pm and 8 pm

Whitman Class of 1970 Theater

Students: $7 Public: $10 - Tickets at Frist

--Grace Ma ’14


Classic Movie of the Week: Sunset Boulevard (1950)

So I was watching this crazy awesome never-finished silent movie called Queen Kelly during break (a main character wears a cat - and only a cat - for a good portion of the film, so I definitely recommend it) and I couldn’t help thinking about Sunset Boulevard. Queen Kelly stars Gloria Swanson, one of the most famous silent film actresses, who had basically disappeared from the big screen when she starred in Sunset Boulevard 21 years later.

Norma Desmond, Gloria’s character in Sunset Boulevard, is in a very similar situation. She is a former silent film star who has passed her prime and lives shut up in her mansion on Sunset Boulevard. Norma is not mentally stable and believes she is as great a star as she used to be. One day, Joe Gillis (William Holden), a struggling screenwriter, ends up at Norma’s mansion in an attempt to evade his creditors. She lures him into her life and eventually into her bed. The more Joe becomes a part of this woman’s life, the more he realizes the horrible situation he has gotten himself into. And there doesn’t seem to be a way for him to escape unscathed…

Billy Wilder directs this piece just as masterfully as The Apartment. And William Holden is handsome and sympathetic as Joe. The real star of the film, however, is Gloria Swanson, whose portrayal of the creepy, but captivating Norma Desmond will remain with you long after you watch the film. Most likely showing up in your most disturbing dreams…

The trailer exists here.

Side Note: Erich von Stroheim, who plays Gloria’s super sketch butler/ex-husband, was the director of Queen Kelly. His career as a director was ruined after that movie because he made it so expensive and outrageous that the film could not be finished. I guess cats are very costly garments…

Sunset Boulevard can be obtained through the Humanities Resource Center and Netflix.

-Lolita De Palma '14


Wednesday, November 10, 2010

What makes a Bond film a true Bond film?

Last week, MGM Studios finally confirmed that production on the next James Bond movie will start sometime next year. As a life-long James Bond fan (since I was five, really), this truly warms my heart, but there is a major downside: the past two Bond movies have not been real Bond movies. While everyone agrees that Quantum of Solace sucked on all fronts, some people actually liked Casino Royale as an entry into the Bond canon. I’m sorry, it may work as a generic action movie, but it does not follow the legacy of Goldfinger, Thunderball, The Spy Who Loved Me, and GoldenEye. There are certain features every good Bond movie has, and every future one must have in order to be considered a true Bond film.

Five things all James Bond movies must have:

The Bad Guy: A main villain with a unique or grotesque physical feature who is putting the fate of the world in jeopardy and has a henchman with an awesome preferred method of killing

The Bond Girls: At least two beautiful women for 007 to, um, rendezvous with while completing his mission, one of whom turns out to be working with the main villain and the other gives James vital assistance in taking down the main villain.

The Gadgets: Innovative and explosive gadgets that are housed in ordinary items, along with the newest model Aston Martin fitted with spy gear and weaponry, given to 007 by Q or a Q-like figure played by someone with great comedic timing.

The Action: Scenes taking place in at least three countries located in at least two continents, including at least one of the following: a foot chase through city streets, a car chase, and a chase involving another type of vehicle (boat, plane, etc). The final action scene must involve some sort of set piece.

The Humor: James must dispense a solid amount of witty one-liners when talking about sex or right after he kills someone after a drawn-out fight, and must impersonate someone in a way that it’s obvious he’s an impostor.

Clearly, the previous two entries in the series can barely be considered Bond movies. The villains have been weak, the plots too new age, and Bond not as suave and clever as he used to be. In order to steer this iconic series back in the right direction, I will present to you my half-baked proposition for the plot of Bond 23. As a disclaimer, this plot harkens back to the days when superpowers actually fought each other and does not reflect my views on the parties involved in the present day international climate. I just want the movie to be patriotic and badass. Here goes:

The United States, Britain, Russia, and China have just negotiated the final elimination of all nuclear missile silos, marking a major step towards end to the threat of global nuclear war. Meanwhile, while on assignment in Argentina investigating a secret arms deal between China and Iran, 007 meets a female Israeli intelligence agent on the same assignment from her government. The chemistry between the two is obvious, but their relationship is severed when Bond stops her from assassinating a Chinese official (in a foot and car chase in the streets of Buenos Aires), and she disappears. Cue theme song and opening credits.

He then returns to England, where M debriefs him on unrest within the Iranian military over its clandestine nuclear program, with a right-wing faction bent on conducting an atmospheric nuclear test in the Indian Ocean. M tells 007 that such an attack would spark a war between Israel and Iran that would threaten the stability of the entire region while driving the cost of oil to astronomical levels, crippling the world economy. To gain more background information on the Iranian situation, Bond is paired up with a sultry British-Iranian expert on the Iranian military and government, and the two quickly develop an intimate relationship.

Meanwhile, the Chinese official covertly enters Iran and meets up with a general of a rogue division of the Iranian Republican Guard. We learn that the China has sold the general computer equipment that will allow him to override the security system on Iran’s first operational nuclear device, which he has stolen without the Iranian government’s knowledge. Somehow, this is all involved in a plot to take down the world economy to create a world communist order under Chinese auspices by elements of the Chinese government who are appalled by their country’s adoption of capitalism. It would turn out that the general was the henchman and the Chinese official the true villain. Also, the British-Iranian women would turn out to be a spy for the Chinese, and 007 gets with the Israeli spy at the end of the movie.

Alright, so I haven’t really been able to incorporate all the necessary parts, or figured out how the plot actually ends, but I think I have the makings of a damn good Bond movie. Alas, MGM will probably make another Bond about a random dude preventing Bolivian peasants from getting access to drinking water or something like that, but we true Bond fans can only hope they bring the series back to its roots.


Q and A with Pink Martini: Live at McCarter Theater Tomorrow

Pink Martini’s fifth album is sure to be a hit. “Joy to the World” is being released at Starbucks stores and music retailers nationwide on November 16th, but Princetonians have the opportunity to see the band live tomorrow at McCarter Theater. This non-denominational holiday album features songs in 9 different languages, including French, English, and Ladino (the intersection of Spanish and Hebrew). Intersections catches up with lead singer China Forbes on the album, her career, and advice for aspiring musicians.

Q: Technically, a Pink Martini is a Cosmopolitan. Why did you choose Pink Martini?

A: Thomas was really into cocktails at the time when he started the band. Between his love of Audrey Hepburn, Breakfast at Tiffany and cosmopolitans, I think he thought of the name. And then later lived to regret it, but I think he’s accepted it by now.

Q: What inspired you to sing in so many different languages? Are you fluent in any of the languages you sing in besides English?

A: I speak French fairly well, I studied it throughout elementary school through high school had a grandfather who was half French. I studied Italian in my senior year in high school because I thought I was going to study opera. I don’t speak all the languages I sing in, so a lot of it was inspired by loving songs from films that I sang on the first album, like the Japanese song from the film The Black Lizard and the Greek version of “Never On Sunday,” …so it kind of started that way and we were just inspired to try more and more languages.

Q: What do you hope people will come away with after listening to your album “Joy to the World”?

A: I think it’s just a selection of really beautiful holiday songs that are familiar and then some totally obscure ones. So I think it's kind of a revolutionary holiday album in that its not specifically Christian, it’s not all about Christmas, it’s in tons in different languages, and it really weaves together songs that are known and not known. It’s a fresh approach to a holiday album.

Q: What was it like working with Saori Yuki?

A: We got to work with her when we were in Tokyo last March- she performed with us at our show. She was so gracious and elegant and it was so cool because she was kind of the Barbara Streisand of Japan in the 70s. We covered one of her songs on our Hey Eugene album called “Kaya Tan” and because of our covering her song, somebody sent her the clip of our version of the song and it sort of inspired her to go back to performing after she had retired. It was such an amazing outcome-you never know what’s going to happen.

Q: What is your favorite song on “Joy to the World”?

A: I love “La Vergine Degli Angeli” which is a song that’s basically an aria by Verdi, and it’s not traditionally a holiday song but it’s about the virgin and angels and it’s just a beautiful song that Thomas and I have always loved. “Do You Hear What I Hear” is a really nice recording as well.

Q: Thomas Lauderdale, your bandleader has said that, “In actuality, these albums are actually produced by whoever happens to be in the room at the time, band members, friends, random people off the street who wander in … everybody has a chance to weigh in.” How do you think this influences the music that your band makes and the final product you put out?

A: It has a nice spontaneity to it, the fact that the process is open to suggestion. It is very much the combination of group work and individual work. Sometimes it’s just Thomas and me in the studio for hours and hours and other times there are tons of people there and everyone’s giving their opinion. I think this just helps convey the inclusivity that Thomas really brings to everything he does.

Q: Did you think you would be doing this when you started out as a musician? What encouraged you to pursue this type of music?

A: No it actually kind of happened by accident. I always thought I would be a singer songwriter, which I was doing before I joined Pink Martini- I wrote all of my own songs, and played guitar, which was a totally different style. And then Thomas called me and invited me to sing with this band he started. It was fun, but it was completely not what I saw myself doing. Over the years, I grew to like it more and realized that it was actually maybe a better direction for my style of performing and my voice. It actually became something that I wouldn’t have thought of for myself but really suited me.

Q: What was your most memorable moment as a musician?

A: Playing at Carnegie Hall for the first time sort of felt like a Cinderella moment. Everybody was so excited for us because all of our fans who had watched us over the years from little clubs downtown work our way up to Carnegie Hall. It just felt really special.

Q: What advice would you give to others trying to break into the music industry?

A: I would say play an instrument, write songs, and team up with people who you think are talented and who you like to hang out with. Experiment with collaborating, and find and discover what best suits you. In this day and age you can do everything on your own, you don’t really need a record label, so make a record.

Q: Do you see any collaborations on the horizon? What is the next step for the band?

A: It would be really fun- my cousin is one of the members of Grizzly Bear and I keep wanting to do something with him. It would be really fun to sing with Natalie Merchant who I met this year and got to sing on stage with at the Cambridge Music Festival in England. She called me up on stage and it was like this high school fantasy coming true. But who knows? I haven’t actually arranged any of these things. They’re just dreams right now.

Interview conducted, condensed, and edited by Lisa Fierstein ‘14


Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Princeton Trend of the Week: Princetonians Become Potter-heads

Harry Potter has been slowly but surely creeping back onto the radar of the kids, former kids and kids-at-heart who grew up ingesting the adventures of the hero of the wizarding world as the release of the seventh Potter film approaches. At Princeton, this trend has been particularly notable with the proliferation of the Harry Potter Facebook quiz.

These quizzes come in many varieties—there is the “Which obscure Harry Potter character are you?” quiz (Vincent Crabbe…several of my friends found this quite entertaining), the “Which Harry Potter professor are you?” quiz (McGonagall) and the classic “What Hogwarts house are you?” quiz (Yea Gryffindor!)

Potter quizzing spiked during midterms but still seems to have held on to its place as a trusty new way Facebook can enhance your procrastination time. One strung out student completed enough of these quizzes to prompt a curious Facebook comment from a friend at a different school wondering what the hell was up with the sudden Potter addiction.

The humanities major in me would analyze this new craze as a typical vicarious fleeing of the real, ever-stressful academic world of Princeton to the magical, adventurous world of the brave and adventurous Harry and his colorful cohorts.

In case you haven’t had a chance to flex your Potter-themed quiz skills, here are a couple of fun ones (in addition to those listed above) that you may want to try:

http://www.facebook.com/apps/application.php?id=94569418342 (“What is your signature spell?” Please not Avada Kedavra, please not Avada Kedavra…)

http://www.facebook.com/apps/application.php?id=49372207474 (“Twilight vs. Harry Potter.” Is this even a competition? Magic spells over lovey dovey vamps any day!)

http://www.facebook.com/apps/application.php?id=125487422480 (“What is your Harry Potter wand?” Does yours have phoenix feather?)

-Nava Friedman '13