Sunday, November 21, 2010

Politics

I've been trying to write more journals in the morning. If I write too late in the day, I censor myself and get preachy. ("You should stop eating chocolate and practice instead of having friends! RAWR!") The writing comes out mostly stream-of-consciousness. Here's one from a few days ago (that I edited a bit as to not seem to scatterbrained).

Maybe it's not my place to be involved in politics, business, changing the world that way. Maybe my creative mind needs room to BREATHE. Do my attempts to stay well-informed take too much brainpower? Am I wasting energy when I get angry over things I can't change, like fundamentalists and DADT? Do I think I'll be a better, more respectable person if I dabble in politics at the expense of my music?

I'll bet I am more emotionally involved in politics than the average Poli Sci major. The news frightens and angers me now that I realize my direct stake in it. But I am not an activist. Paying attention to the missteps of Congress outside of my brief time of power during election season is just going to make me frustrated.

I think I need to take better care of myself and stop trying to worry about everything and everyone. The usual advice is to be more selfless and to think more about others, but I honestly think I have the opposite problem. I try to make the world too big to fit inside my head and then my own thoughts get claustrophobic. I can't take care of myself when I worry about idiot politicians I can't influence while living in a decidedly Blue State.

I'm going to stop listening to podcasts on politics, stop reading the newspaper, stop watching news to numb my brain. I am going on a politics cleanse. I am a non-news-atarian. I live inside my own life.

When huge things happen, I'll hear about them. When the government deems me worthy of equal rights, I'll be told.

I hope that every good night's sleep after a politics-free day will peel off a layer of Struggle that's currently coating my heart.

I hope that I will soon stop feeling like I have to be an example for people who aren't watching.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Live from 420: The Experience

One day several months ago, I was complaining to a friend with my skillful iThumbs about how hard it is to play regular live shows in the city. Now, don't get me wrong, I love playing live. But I am not an ant. I cannot carry objects twice my size and get away with it. For every show I play, I must drag my beloved but obese Roland Phantom X7 into the depths of the treacherous New York subway system, piss off all of my fellow passengers with my bulky package, and then carry my equipment on my back for several blocks while I walk to the gig. Since the keyboard and its case are an odd size and shape, I am the only living creature with the superpowers necessary to carry it. But it's just about as tall as I am. Every gig feels like a battle won in a long and dangerous war, but my sore back will not allow me to fight the good fight every day, as much as I'd like to.

So as I was telling tales of my battle scars to aforementioned friend, he suggested I play shows on the Internet from my apartment. The idea struck me with a huge "duh" moment. Being a small musician with a large keyboard and a tendency toward Internet geekery, an online show was a perfect fit.

For nearly four months now, I've been streaming live shows from my apartment (yes, it's really #420) every Tuesday at 8pm EST. The results have been surprising. The shows are barely scripted (if at all), and by letting myself rant from stream-of-consciousness has resulted in the discovery that I am a nutcase. I rapped with a cactus, for crying out loud! (Okay, I already had a suspicion that I was crazy.) But I've also honed my songwriting and performing skills by forcing myself to write a new song for every show (which happens about ... 40% of the time) and I've grown much closer to you.

I'm currently working on a new endeavor: playing solo shows with electronic arrangements, starting at my next show at The Woods in Brooklyn, NY on August 18. I played a little preview of what I'm working on in Episode 13, and will have more to show next week!

So please join me in the magical land of 420. You can watch previous episodes on my website.

See you next Tuesday!

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Live this Tuesday - at Crash Mansion and Online!

Hey guys,


Busy this Tuesday? No? Good, because I am!


First, I will be inviting you into my home for Episode 6 of the Live from 420 show, where I perform in my apartment, chat with you, and generally make a fool of myself. I've been streaming shows online every Tuesday at 8pm and will continue to do so as much as I can!


Then I will be playing at Crash Mansion in New York as part of the RethinkPopMusic showcase! $5 (with RSVP) gets you full open bar from 7:30-9:30, and a night full of awesome bands topped off by yours truly at 11pm.


You can also become a part of my second album! I've started a Kickstarter campaign to help fund it, and every donation results in a thank you from me, ranging from a signed copy of the future album to me getting a tattoo of your name. (You think I'm kidding, but I've been having a hard enough time deciding on a tattoo that I'd be grateful to have the decision taken out of my hands...) Even $5 would be another step toward recording the new songs like "You Deserve Better," "If We'd Just Said What We Meant," and "Wildflowers in Concrete."


Thank you so much for your support! You guys are awesome and I wouldn't nearly be so ridiculous if it weren't for you.


Peace out,


Jana

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

CL Rehab

Okay, confession.

You can't be a good rock star without a major addiction. And yes, I have mine.

My name is Jana (hi Jana) and I'm addicted to Craigslist.

I know, I know, it sounds a little fantastical, but it's true. I know that CL is full of junk and a waste of my time. It's just that I've had so many good experiences. Like here's all the stuff I found on Craigslist:


  • Mike, my guitar player

  • Brett, who lets me play laptop in his band

  • My last three apartments

  • My TV

  • My DVD player

  • The art in my bathroom

  • An art student who let me talk about religion on camera in exchange for prints of his art

  • The dog shelter where I volunteer

  • Several of my music gigs



... And most of my friends.

So put yourself in my position. Would you want to give it up?

Now that I have Craigsphone, my problem has gotten worse. Two or three times a day, I scroll through all of the bizarre ads about foot fetish parties and unpaid internships doing other people's laundry thinking I'm going to hit the jackpot. And yes, I have triumphed over the unorganized, inappropriate mess many times in the past. But my successes are waaaaaaayy out of proportion to the amount of time I spend on there.

Maybe I'm just too picky. I'm kind of a grammar snob. Here are the reasons I'll ignore an ad:


  • ALL CAPS

  • too ... many ... ellipses ...

  • Stupid misspellings (like people who say they want to get signed to a "lable")

  • Whining about loneliness (You live in New York, surrounded by millions of strangers. You think you're the only one who's lonely?)

  • Acting as if getting signed to a major "lable" is going to result in a 100% caviar diet

  • Talking about how much you like clubbing and poppin' bottles (just go to the liquor store. At least there, if you have to wait in line, you'll be indoors.)

  • Talking about how you want to find your "ride or die bitch" (That's supposed to make me want to be your friend?)



So yeah, maybe I'm too selective. But maybe that's why I've had 95% good experiences.

Maybe I can make a computer program that would filter out all these ads and send me what's left in a daily email. That would be awesome. But... It would also take away the joy of the CL hunt.

I spend way too much time thinking about this.

This is why I need to go to CL rehab.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Videos

Yo most awesomest dudes,

Check out these sweet vids.

Me playing solo:



Me rocking the flannel with Brett Gleason:



And make fun of me for this one if you haven't yet.



Ciao,

J Dawg

Monday, January 25, 2010

Jana's Blog: Off to BPC again!

Hey guys,

This has been a busy couple of months. I successfully relocated to Brooklyn (it's where all the cool kids are, I swear) and am now ironically closer to all the places I play in Manhattan. Funny how the water barrier is more psychological than anything.

Playing these past few shows with Mike has allowed me to really enjoy being on stage more - I can get into the music instead of worrying about forgetting chords (I still forget chords, but Mike keeps on chugging along and I can pretend that nothing happened).

I have also sort of developed a reputation as the nerd girl who sings about dragons. Guess I asked for that one.

My upcoming show at Bowery Poetry Club this Friday is going to be a fun one - I'm going to play a set of my music than Mike, then switch to playing laptop for my good friend Brett Gleason. Two very different shows for the price of one - you can't beat that.

Anyway, I hope to see you there! And I hope you're on the edge of your seat waiting for my next album. It's coming out ... sometime before the world ends in 2012.

Peace out,

J