there was a thread on reddit tonight asking women what interests/skills/talents they find instantly sexy in a man.
i said: playing a musical instrument/being interested in music, being a good writer, involvement in theatre and/or improv.
apparently people liked my comment because it got a lot of upvotes… but several people (men) commented to say some variation of, “your ideal man is gay.”
look, i don’t care how “funny” you think that is - it’s factually incorrect and it’s also disgusting to say that.
i went to an arts high school, and honestly? there weren’t even that many gay guys there. i don’t even think there was necessarily a higher proportion of male queerness at my school than there was in the real world, which i guess would be surprising to some people.
but it’s not surprising to me. an interest in the arts is not a “feminine” quality. humans are, as a rule, interested in the arts. that’s why the arts have survived this long in our collective culture.
i can honestly say that i see no correlation in my own life between guys who are gay and guys who are interested in the arts. my own boyfriend, who is the straightest guy i know, is a pixel artist, has a strong interest in music, and comes with me to improv shows regularly. my brother, who’s primarily straight, plays more than 4 different musical instruments, writes his own songs, and even takes theatre history classes at school. and there were a bunch of boys on the improv team i coached, and the teams i was a part of in high school, who were straight, as far as i’m aware (liam, sasa, nick, connor, stefan, alex) but are nonetheless brilliant improvisors and very much interested in that side of theatre. many of them even pursue theatre in other ways (i know nick, for example, was in summerworks last year, stefan is at actors’ college, and connor was considering going into theatre tech as a profession).
i think some straight guys accuse artsy guys of being gay because they’re jealous of that artsiness. and they have a right to be jealous of that, because artsy guys are incredibly sexy and desirable and interesting and wonderful. but not all of them are gay. in fact, maybe one-tenth of the guys i met in my theatre classes were even a little bit gay.
(plus, who the fuck cares if i want to date a guy who’s “a little bit gay” anyway? i’ve dated two bi guys and there really is no practical difference, incase any biphobic stereotypin’ motherfuckers are out there and are convinced that bi guys can’t be good boyfriends to ladies. they can.)
Anonymous said: Do you have any advice for learning ukulele? I know a lot of chords but I can't seem to understand how to strum properly. Do I just strum in rhythm with the song? At what point do I change chords? Thanks, Kate!
Strumming patterns and chord changes will depend on the song, but you can learn basic ones that will work for most songs.
Count in your head - for songs in 4/4, you’re gonna count “1 and 2 and 3 and 4 and,” and for songs in 3/4 (or similarly waltzy time signatures), you’re gonna count “1 and 2 and 3, 1 and 2 and 3.” My standard 4/4 strumming pattern is to only strum on “1, 2 and… and 4 and.” My usual waltz strum pattern is “1, 2 and 3 and.”
This video is for guitar but the information also applies to ukulele for the most part. It goes through some basic strumming patterns.
As for chord changes, it almost always happens on the beat. Could be every beat, every 2 beats, every bar, or a combination thereof, depending on the song.
The absolute best tips I have for learning ukulele:
1. Have some understanding of basic music theory. This includes things like: which strings are which notes, chord structure, and transposition. This stuff will help you SO MUCH.
2. Once you have a good grasp of at least a few major and minor chords, go on a website like AZChords or Ultimate-Guitar and start learning songs. They don’t have to be good songs, and they don’t have to be performance-ready. Just pick a song that you know very well (ideally something with a very basic chord structure, like Call Me Maybe) and learn how to play it. I’m always learning other people’s songs because I find it’s the best and fastest way for me to improve my playing.
Hope that helps! Let me know if you have any more questions.
Jeremy is one of those people who makes me want to pick up an instrument and practice… and I really think that’s one of the best things an artist can do for their audience. ♥
School is Out - regina spektor
When I first started listening to “music,” it was Jenny Lewis. We’ve had Florence Welch. Annie Clark. Kate Nash. Laura Marling…..Lily Allen. And I am telling you that the next one is going to be Stacy King. No, listen. Don’t roll your eyes at me. (Hell, if NYLON,Zooey D., and Dianna Agron are all talking about it, it must be so.)
I’m not going to throw around expletives for the sake of sounding like a swarthy man and/or in order to hyperbolize. Just trust me when I say that Sucré’s debut album is fucking awesome, and I impatiently await the day when Stacy’s tracked tag starts updating too frequently for me to check it.
The first time I sat down to listen to A Minor Bird (it’s streaming and on Spotify so you have no excuses), I had one of those giddy, stupefied experiences I pretty much only ever get when I’m listening to a new Radiohead album or something. Yes—it’s that good. The songs “Chemical Reaction” and “Endless Sleep” almost had me in tears.
The band is truly a collaborative force. Beyond Stacy King (née DuPree of Eisley non-fame) and her soaring vocals, we have Darren King (of MUTEMATH) and his bizarre but satisfying drums, and Jeremy Larson (creative genius) who takes an otherwise lovely record and turns it into an utter masterpiece full of weeping violins and dancing pianos. I don’t know what the hell a weeping violin is - maybe I should work on my vocabulary skills. Just know that he is a genius and if I ever make a movie dear God in heaven Mr. Larson will you please give me an original score?
“But what makes it so good?” you ask - “Why this, and not any other record on planet earth? What, am I made of money?” Okay, cool it pal. Deep breaths.
Today the lady who runs my local coffee shop asked me how my music was going (I’ve performed there before). I told her it’s going kind of slow, because I’m in a happy relationship so there’s not enough angst in my life for me to generate decent work.
However, after thinking about it more, that’s total bullshit. I just haven’t been putting the time in.
Damian suggested that I do something similar to the “game jams” he goes to, where a bunch of people stay in a room for a few hours or a few days and have to make a game during that time… I would basically shut myself up in my bedroom, armed with a ukulele, guitar, keyboard, laptop, microphone, video camera, notebook, and pen, and not let myself leave until a song was finished.
Pretty excited to do this. Maybe I’ll schedule it for next Monday, which is Family Day, since I know I won’t be up to anything anyway.
1. Jeremy Larson - They Reappear
2. Tegan and Sara - The Con
3. The Softies - Holiday in Rhode Island
4. John Mayer - Heavier Things
5. John Legend - Once Again
6. Fleet Foxes - Fleet Foxes
7. Regina Spektor - Soviet Kitsch
8. Stacey Kent - Dreamsville
9. Chris Garneau - Music For Tourists
10. Death Cab For Cutie - Narrow Stairs
You MUST listen to all of these, if you haven’t already. They are the best of the best, IMO. These are the albums I would happily take with me on a desert island and listen to on loop for the rest of my life.
I was just writing in my lifestream about how I’m getting better at subtly manipulating the moods of people around me - a very useful skill to have when you have family members or close friends who are a bit more negative than you would like.
Here’s a practical tip about that, which I’ve done several times & really works:
For each negative family member or friend you have, make a playlist of songs that you know they enjoy, that cheer them up, make them want to sing along or dance, etc. Then, next time you’re hanging out with them, if they seem a little down, put on the playlist casually in the background.
They’ll generally perk right up, because music has that kind of power! Magic!
Them: You should write your own original songs instead of just doing covers.
Me: I’ve written dozens upon dozens upon dozens of original songs. Is it really that difficult for you to click the button that takes you to my profile?
Them: I didn’t like this, it was too different from the original.
Me: That’s the point. There’s no use in covering a song if it’s completely identical to the original version.
Them: I don’t think you got the [piano/guitar/ukulele] part right.
Me: Well, considering that the original song doesn’t actually have [piano/guitar/ukulele] on it, there’s no way for me to get it “right.”
Them: Will you make a tutorial for this?
Me: Sure, here it is!
Them: I can’t see the keys, you played too fast, you played it wrong, your technique is bad, & you’re ugly.
Me: Thanks, I’m glad you’re so appreciative that I made you a tutorial.
Them: I hate when people cover songs by [artist].
Me: Then why are you looking them up on YouTube, watching them, & sticking around long enough to comment on them?
Them: You should sing it with more emotion, more vibrato, more riffs, simpler chords, fewer rests, faster, louder, & closer to the camera.
Me: Wow, it sounds like you know what you’re looking for. Maybe you should just do it yourself. I already did my version, & it’s right here.
Them: Where did you get the sheet music for this?
Me: I didn’t. It doesn’t exist. Look up the song on the multitude of chords sites on the internet, or just develop your ear to the point where you can transcribe songs.
Them: You should make an album! I would totally buy it!
Me: I’ve released several albums on my Bandcamp page, to which there is a link in the video description & on my profile.
(This is always invariably followed by them not buying any of my music.)
Them: You got some of the lyrics wrong.
Me: I reeeeally don’t give a fuck. You went out of your way to tell me that?
Them: You should get a better camera/microphone/ukulele/piano.
Me: The link to my Amazon wishlist is in my profile; feel free to buy me one.
This last one is an actual exchange between a commenter & I, copy-&-pasted as is…
Them: Only reason I kept watching was hoping for a nipple slip. One star.
Me: I am a musician, not a stripper. Also, I’m a minor. Nice work, idiot.