Dearest, Patti…

It is in my upmost respect and feeling of wander that I write this letter to you. The endeavors you’ve conquered have given us insight into a world not many have the eyes to see nor the hearts to appreciate. I first encountered Just Kids about 4 years ago. Since then, I feel connected to your words. This connection comes in the form of things, both significant and minuscule, and in people, both devious and godly. The amount of emotion and humanity you’ve been able to capture in your writing has been informative and enlightening, lending to the magic and mysticism behind the people we come about, the people we fall in and out of love with. I feel as though your reflections of pain, love, loss and struggle speak vividly to the human experience and they sit central to my understanding of the entropy and desires that shape the connections we make. Your love for Robert throughout the piece shines through the darkness and grime you’ve both wallowed in time and time again and I can only hope that one day I am able to feel that extent of divine and limitless affection. Sometimes I wish that I could have seen your process in writing this piece- did it excite you profoundly throughout? Or did the vivid nature of your memories tear at you violently, reminding you of Robert, his cadence and light and his place now, only in memory and lovely devastation. Your words reach highs and lows unlike anything I have experienced and I sit now and think of you as a burning pillar of hope and remembrance, of angst and rebellion, and of charm and charisma. Your ability to turn even the most insignificant of things- like sugary sweets and coffee noir- into more than sustenance and into a plane of representation and experience is just one of your many talents capturing the essence of humanity. When you ran away from home, into the unwavering, endless concrete of New York City, I felt your nervousness and yearn for change. When you met those you have- the writers, the singers, the poets, the crude and unforgiving, the loving and giving, the street wanderers, the generations of hopefuls and the mass of disappointments, I felt your wander. When you met Robert, lived with him, longed for him, I felt your love in all of it’s fiery disposition. When you said goodbye to him, the man whose love truly did conquer all, I felt your heart break. As I read your words to him, knowing he would never hear them, I felt the pain in my chest as it rose through my throat and escaped in tiny droplets. Patti, dearest, Patti. what you’ve given me is something truly beautiful and as I write this letter, closing another chapter on my own experience, I remember your words to Robert, ” So my last image was as the first. A sleeping youth cloaked in light, who opened his eyes with a smile of recognition for someone who had never been a stranger.” I leave you with this in the hopes that you realize you’ve left me with more.

Love, Lio

 

Romance is for Everyone: Love Songs for Whomever You May Love

Dear Musical MD: I just got a divorce from my wife and am thinking about hitting for the other team, if you know what I mean. What are some rad gay love songs that would convince me that I like Burritos more than Tacos? Sincerely, Now I want Mexican food.

Thank you, Mr. Anonymous (Hassinger) for your questions. Love is something that is alive-it can change, come in all forms, and lend itself to your life in any number of ways. I appreciate you coming to me for advice-obviously you know that Lio Diaz always knows best. To put things simply, these songs aren’t just for gay couples, and music should never be made for one particular group of people, everyone should be and feel allowed to appreciate its beauty. However, your question is interesting in that it calls into the discussion once again how music can bring people together. If your goal is to find love with another man, these are the songs to listen to during “the chase”. Good luck, and all the best.

1. Mary Wells- My Guy 

 

2. La Roux- Sexotheque

 

3. Lady Gaga- Gypsy

 

 

4. Madonna – Dress You Up

 

 

5. Banks- Waiting Game

 

 

6. No Doubt – Just a Girl

 

 

Summertime Radness: Top Music Picks for the Warm Months

A very good friend of mine, Hanna Maddera, one of the founding members of the Black Out Girls, approached me one day and asked what songs I associate with the warm summer months. As I thought about which songs and artists to include I found myself deep in thought and in memory, thinking about those careless days, the warmth of sun rays, melting popsicles and golden bodies dancing and moving. Summer has a funny way of intensifying everything and the magic of music is no exception. These songs are personal to me and what I find to be very summer appropriate. Relax, sit back, and listen…..

Literally anything from Best Coast– The California-duo have supplied the swanky, feel good, summer tunes since they introduced us to their self-titled, debut album. Every song since then is an ode to the wonder of summer, the togetherness, the falling apart, the coming undone and the lovely spontaneity of those warm afternoons spent chasing a wave or a boy or a girl. It’s really hard to choose one song from them, so I’m just gonna say ALL of Best Coast is spot on. :]

Aaliyah- Rock the Boat – The goddess of 90’s R&B knew a little something about making us feel good and this track did just that. Though it was released following her death in 2001, the track went on to receive rave reviews and several award nominations. To this day, this song still gets people moving.  

 

The Beatles- Here Comes the Sun– Just like the song title, this song has us anticipating the warmth and comfort of the summer sun. This feel-good track is slow and steady, lending to the relaxing vibes of summer afternoons.

 

 

Joni Mitchell- California– This song just possesses a sweet, innocent charm that envelops you completely leaving you in a blissful, sunny, mood. If there was one thing Joni knew how to do, it was speaking to the souls of her listeners. Though there is an underlying sadness in the song, a yearning to come home, there is a bright sense of hope that still shines through.

 

 

Rihanna- SOS– When this song was initially released, I fell captive to the raw, striking sexuality and sultriness that RiRi flaunts ever so fabulously. There is just this high level of energy that reminds me of those summer days when the only thing to look forward to was the slowly approaching nightlife. The song also features the tune from Soft Cell’s Tainted Love so, win- win.

 

 

The Mamas & the Papas- California Dreamin’– Everyone should know this song or should have at least heard it once while driving down the summer highway, shifting from channel to channel on the radio. This song is what I would consider the pinnacle of summer music. It’s just so damned summer-y, damn it!!!!

 

 

Like the seeming limitlessness of summertime, this list can go on and on, believe me, but these are songs that stick out to me on a paramount level :] I hope you enjoy these songs as much as I do <3 Lio

Edie Enchanting: The Music in Factory Girl

Factory Girl tells the story of actress and socialite Edie Sedgwick’s rise to fame in 1960’s New York after meeting pop-art icon, Andy Warhol. The film highlights Edie’s charismatic nature and her enchanting demeanor as she becomes “the first girl to bring sex appeal to high society.” The film received rave reviews after its release in 2006, featuring impeccable on-screen magic from Sienna Miller, who played Sedgwick, and from Guy Pearce as he took on the role of Warhol.

The first time I watched the film I fell in love with it. Everything seemed to be wild and spontaneous and its cinematic aesthetic captured a sense of sentiment that I suppose I hadn’t experienced until that time. Everything was spot on- Sienna Miller was flawless on screen and she really was able to capture the essence of Edie. Miller’s acting was simply exuberant, she possessed this high level of emotion that really spoke to Edie’s light and drop-dead charm, but she was also able to present the dark side of Edie’s time spent in New York- the drug use, the fragility, and the level of betrayal she experienced.

The music in the film is arguably just as important as the acting. I really, really appreciated this soundtrack because it wasn’t what I expected it to be. The album featured both soulful,  poppy tunes from the early sixties like Martha and the Vandellas’ Nowhere to Run but also some more experimental, obscure tracks like That’s The Way It’s Got To Be by The Poets- both utterly enticing tunes. The music really lent itself to the magic behind the film because it mirrored the enigmatic, effortlessly cool attitude from what was happening on screen.

One of my favorite musical moments from the film is when Edie is first introduced to Andy at an art opening. We see Andy parading two of his “it” girls,(one of whom is played by Mary Kate Olsen) around with him. He begins talking to a famous art dealer who tells Andy he should meet someone whom comes from “old money, very old.” Andy is suddenly interested as he sees the potential to make a good sale. Then, he finds himself captivated by said someone as she enters the room. The volume of the music playing, Fever by The McCoys, is turned up and everything moves in slow motion as Edie makes quite the entrance. She grabs the attention from everyone there- business men, art critics, intellectual socialites, and old, withered, fur and diamond clad embodiments of high society- and she begins to dance wildly and loosely reaffirming herself as the charming, free spirited, innocently beautiful waif she is remembered as. Her hair is still long and brown as it was up until she found herself immersed in the factory- the plastic, imagined heaven of the silver king and his frail angels.

HERE’S A LINK TO THE TRAILER :] <3

Music Quiz with guest-critic, John Griffin

In attempting to get to know another individual’s musical palette, I constructed a music quiz. This quiz compiled 20 questions surrounding music and musical elements along with a limited number of answers one could select per question. The answers provided to me by my quiz-taker, John Griffin, aimed at giving me insight into not only what kind of music John may be interested in, but also some minor insight into John as an individual. All of John’s answers are boldly highlighted. Now, without any further bull, ladies and gentlemen, John Griffin! (crowd screams) (or just me)

John Griffin Takes on The Ultimate (probably not) Music Quiz!

  1. Leather or fur?

Leather

  1. Choose a Reggae artist/group

Bob Marley and the Wailers

Burning Spear

Peter Tosh

Rebelution

Beenie Man

 

  1. Choose a Beatles Song

Here Comes the Sun

Love Me Do

I Wanna Hold Your Hand

Penny Lane

Eleanor Rigby

  1. You’re going to an EDM festival, what do you wear?

Anything neon and furry

All. Black. Everything. 

High-Waisted shorts and a crop top you bought at Forever 21

A Native American headdress and body paint

I wouldn’t be caught dead at an EDM Festival

  1. Pick a rapper

MC LYTE

Schoolboy Q

Lil Wayne

Azealia Banks

NAS

Common

  1. Pick a nail color

Nude

All red, all the time

Black and chipped

Neon with an accent nail

Plain (no polish)

  1. Pick an 80’s anthem

Girls Just Wanna Have Fun- Cindy Lauper

Take On Me- A-ha

Jessie’s Girl- Rick Springfield

Pour Some Sugar on Me- Def Leppard 

Like a Prayer- Madonna

  1. Pick a Female Country Artist

Patsy Cline

Loretta Lynn

Dolly Parton

LeeAnn Rimes

Shania Twain

  1. Backstreet Boy’s or N’SYNC – Backstreet Boy’s
  2. Pick a film about Music to watch with your significant other.

Pure Country

Grease

Sound of Music

Purple Rain

Cadillac Record’s

  1. Pick a Michael Jackson song

Billie Jean

Pretty Young Thing

Smooth Criminal

The Way You Make Me Feel

Man in the Mirror

 

  1. You go to a concert and can only take three things in, what do you take?

Chapstick, gum, sunscreen

Phone, cigarettes, cocaine

Flask, debit card, condoms

Blunt wraps, weed, lighter

Fruit Snacks, pocketknife, pepper spray

  1. You are getting your first tattoo, what do you get?

A tribal butterfly

Live, Love, Laugh (is that the right order?)

A portrait of your kid

A small black heart on your finger

I would never get a tattoo

  1. You are riding in a car with your favorite artist (current and alive), what do you do?

Cry endlessly and repeat that you can’t believe this is happening.

Light it up, take a hit, and pass that shit.

Make a move and reassure them you won’t tell anyone.

Sit and talk about your childhood’s.

Break out the freak in you and go to pound town.

  1. Your favorite band is playing at a local venue but you are scheduled to work, what do you do?

Quit and make no apologies, possibly vandalize something within reach.

Try your hardest to get your shift covered.

Call in sick with horrible diarrhea.

Say your dog died a tragic death and you can’t stand to look people in the eyes.

Call in a bomb threat from across the street.

  1. You get invited to go backstage after the show to party with an artist/band. How do you prepare?

Make sure your brows are on fleek.

Take off your panties, but keep them in your purse.

Take 5 shots of whatever you’re drinking.

Leave the show early to freshen up.

Get too drunk and completely make a fool of yourself.

  1. Justin Beiber is in town, what do you?

Host an Anti-Beiber party at your house.

Buy VIP everything

Go to the concert drunk and stoned AF.

Post a nasty status on Facebook or a tweet pledging your hate of anything Beiber.

Throw various items at him while he performs.

  1. You win a Grammy and are interrupted by a certain man whilst giving your acceptance speech, how do you respond?

Be proud that someone is threatened by your win.

Push him off the stage and curse his entire being.

Hug him and embrace the criticism (you’d probably have to be drunk to do this).

Call him out on social media immediately after.

Give your Grammy to whoever will make him happy.

  1. You are offered collaborations with the following artists, who do you choose?

Bey and Jay

Mick Jagger

HAIM

Calvin Harris

FKA twigs

  1. Someone hates on your ultimate music crush, what do you do?

Quickly retaliate and remind them why they’re amazing.

Punch a bitch and dare them to run their mouth again.

Criticize their music taste in a public setting.

Ruin their life by any means possible.

Invite them to go to a show where your crush is playing in hopes of changing their mind.

RESULTS 

Based on John’s answers, he has been given the title of ” The Cool Cat”  

Your musical interests are as vast as the empty Californian desert when it’s not festival season, and your taste- as eclectic and unexpected as the weather there. You’re not afraid to stand out, think the Anti- Beiber party and the potentially legendary  collaboration with Sir Mick everyone will be talking about, (regardless if it is in fact ‘legendary’ or not.) You’re not one to scream and shimmy and shake violently when you meet your musical god, but you would be more than happy to meet and hang with them, always keeping it as chill as a cucumber, (I heard that saying somewhere). When it all comes down to it, you’re the rad guy people turn to for half- justified, half-personally opinionated words about music who is almost too cool to function but who won’t be asked to accompany many people to shows out of their own personal fear that you couldn’t care less about what is happening in front of you. You have wise words to offer  about music but your carefree, take it as it comes demeanor often leaves many confused about where your musical home lies. However, being the bold chameleon you are, you can kick back and adjust to wherever you may find yourself- gliding freely as the night sky around a neonized, youth consumed, Californian desert or drifting onto cloud nine with your favorite rockstar, ignoring time and the screaming choir of then thousand, liquor- clad, unknown, number- one fans.

Feelings.

Songs have an interesting way of bringing people together, but also wield the potential to make you say, “fuck it, I’m better off!” Whatever of the two y’all can relate with more, these are five songs about major feelings. <3

First on the list is “Time in a Bottle” by Jim Croce. This song speaks to that feeling of wanting to spend the rest of your life with a certain someone and it definitely pulls at the heartstrings, well at least mine.

Next on the list is “Take it all” by Adele.  Anyone who’s heard any song by Adele knows that she is an expert on heartbreak. Whether you’re hurting or feeling like finally moving on, this song can have you catching a serious case of the feels.

Third on the list is “Summer Mood” by Best Coast

This song is about sunshine, good times, liquor soaked evenings spent picking your boo up off the ground. Not many feels here, just a cute fucking time. <3

The fourth song on the list is “Hey Baby” by Bruce Channel

This song is all about those times when you feel nothing could get any better. Everything is going your way and your walking with your bae down lover’s lane. <3

Last on the list is “Magic Man” by Heart

The seventies is alive and well in this track. Think of nothing more than a good time in the back seat with smoke all around. Sweat. raw passion, and grimy romance come alive in this track. If you want to lure a bad boy into your mom’s mini-van, look no further.

Radical Beauties: The Music of the Sixties

I have always had a peculiar fascination with everything that existed before myself. Perhaps this fascination stems simply from my curiosity of things and people and times that preceded me. My mom was born in 1960 and grew up in a time when anything could quite easily be considered as radical, vulgar, and even  simply different. These things, people, events came about in a time when they were highly unexpected; no one expected anyone to go “there” to destabilize any order that had been established. The music of the sixties was no exception. Flower power was blossoming, free love was running rampant and to the people choosing to progress with those times, nothing was off limits. For many of these people, this was the first time when being different was in, it was cool. Diving head first into freedom was the motto of the times and this way of thought applied itself to nearly every form of human culture; music, art, fashion, love, all of these things were changing and the songs that were sung could be danced to by anyone. There was still a level of exclusivity, or aristocracy that existed, but surely the youth that trickled down from the generations bombarded with prejudice could see that times were changing. Being the children of rich, well read, worldly parents – they refused to be left out of the loop and the age of the socialite was exploding like never before. Many of these socialites began to flock to the clubs, the art openings, fashion houses and the factory all in the hopes of never losing their cool, it-girl factor. The music of the sixties, in my own opinion, holds a certain fascination, a certain magic that was birthed in a time when there was a higher attention being paid to beauty, to the yearning to move forward, think forward. Sadly, drug use seems to always be credited for the genius of that generation but I choose to give my attention to the people, the artists, their stories and their will to create change.

Interview with guest, DJ Cha Cha <3

The ability to connect music to memories, no matter how deep they may be buried within your mind, is almost a magical experience, so to speak. The act of conjuring up your earliest, sometimes happiest, sometimes saddest memories relies on associating those times to a story. These stories are often embedded within the songs we danced along to, cried to, sang along to, and above all, lived through. Today we are talking to our Guest DJ Cha Cha from KDUR Durango about the songs she associates with her childhood and how they have impacted her life. 

LD: So, Cha Cha, talk to me about your admiration for The Chordettes, particularly for the song, Drifting and Dreaming.

 

 

CC: “Well, every Christmas growing up my mom has this tradition where she bakes cookies and listens to old tapes. When she was a kid, her family had a competition between my great grandparents, who lived in california and they lived in NY, to see who could create the best Christmas tapes. They would record voices and have this whole elaborate plan to see who could create the best tape. On the last tape that was sent, my great grandpa played a version of Drifting and Dreaming on his recorder. My mom can never listen to the tape without crying, and ever since then, I have had a deep admiration for the song.

LD: Oh, how fabulous!!! A man of great taste, I’m sure. So, not only for you, but for your mother, the song serves as an embodiment of your great grandfather, so to speak?

CC: Yup, I would definitely say so. Not only my great grandpa but also my great grandma. It is really just a reminder of how things used to be, how something so un- materialistic can be the best thing ever. Even though peoples mindsets have changed, largely for the better today, I still can’t help but miss the fact that I wasn’t their for what people call “the simpler times”.

LD: I love that! Now, let’s move on to the next track, Friend of the Devil by The Grateful Dead.

 

 

CC: I grew up listening to the Grateful Dead. My mom was a true dead-head when she was in college, and it’s hard not to fall in love with such an iconic band. Truly, they are iconic. During my parents divorce, I relied on creating my own world outside of the situations I was in. Music was my inspiration for most things.

There were weeks that went by where it felt like I didn’t sleep at all. 
“I set out running but I’ll take my time
A friend of the Devil is a friend of mine
If I get home before daylight
I just might get some sleep tonight.”
That’s the chorus for friend of the devil, at the time this really stuck with me. Maybe I am a friend of the devil, experiencing all the things I did, and maybe I  would get some sleep that night. (laughs) haha I guess I’ve had that mentality ever since.
LD: Music and a deeper understanding of the sort of storytelling aspect of music can most definitely lead to some level of absolution no matter what you are facing, and The Dead seem to not only be musical icons, but also iconic on the sphere or storytelling, would you agree?
CC: Yes it can. I wish I could of put more Dead songs on my list, but I think other artists deserved credit also.
LD: Then let’s move on to the third song on your list, “Piece of my Heart” by the incomparable Janis Joplin. What about this song resonates with you?
CC: She’s such a powerful person. My mom also introduced me to Janis. My mom was a teacher at my middle school, OMS, also known as Ortiz. Ortiz had a lip-singing contest every year, which doubled as a talent show. She worked at Ortiz for at least ten years after we moved off the reservation to Santa Fe, NM. Every year she would perform this song. She would move and mouth the words to piece of my heart with such emotion. It did not take long before I knew every word, also. I think this song doubled as her “fuck you” to every man thats done her wrong. Having been recently divorced and now a single mother, she had a lot to say. Even before I was in middle school she performed this song for her students, who knew her as Ms. Kennedy, that crazy awesome hippy teacher who loved to dance and play music.
LD: I think it’s brilliant how someone who’s been done wrong can find solace and inspiration from the words of another human being. Would you consider Miss Joplin a voice of female liberation?

CC: I would consider Janis a voice of female liberation, but honestly, she’s so much more than that. She is powerful. Everything about her. I think it takes so much, man or woman, to speak with as much truth and emotion as Janis did.

LD: A true force of unquestionable talent, I agree 100%. Shall we move on to the next track of your top five songs, The Eagle and the Hawk by John Denver?
CC: This is definitely the cheesiest song on my list. John Denver was another one that my madre introduced me to. This song would make me cry uncontrollably when I was as young as two or three. Not sure what it was… probably just the need to escape and not knowing how to. I think the sense of flying away and becoming everything you can be was an idea that resonates with me, even though I cringe at how cheesy that sounds haha, I couldn’t  help but put it on my list if I’m being true to myself, after all.
LD: (laughs) I wouldn’t be embarrassed, especially if you, being really young, were able to relate something like a song to your own, fairly new existence. I think it’s quite magical.

CC: The most important lines of this song to me are: “I am the hawk, and there’s blood on my feathers.

But time is still turning, they soon will be dry.
(later in the song) And reach for the heavens and hope for the future
and all that we can be, and not what we are.” (laughs), yeah it’s just slightly embarrassing…
LD: (laughs) Speaking of embarrassment, let’s move on to the fifth and final track on your list, Ghetto Cowboy by Bone Thugs -N- Harmony (laughs).
CC: (LAUGHS) Hey, Bone Thugz are the shit!
LD: Okay, begin, tell me about the cowboy who rides through the ghetto.

CC: (laughs) Ok, well, right after my mom moved with me and my brother to Santa Fe, it was like an entirely new world. She relied on daycares and after school programs a lot. Even during the summer because she taught summer school. One of the things we learned about while in SF was Bone Thugz. She taught at the ghetto middle school in SF, OMS on the Southside of town.

That’s where we lived too.Every day for summer school, (we had to attend also because there was nobody to watch us) we would sing along to Ghetto Cowboy, along with various other Bone Thugz songs. In a way, this was our victory song. We made it off the pueblo. We made it. And even though times were hard, we were happy.
LD: I love that, I really, really love that.
CC: My mom was the first white woman to make it off the pueblo with full custody of her native kids through tribal court. The song talks a lot about the law and being “wanted up north”. North was the pueblo in my eyes, and the law was no stranger to our family (laughs).
LD: Isn’t it funny how songs, though probably written in completely different contexts, can serve as “our” songs, no matter what they’re about, they are “our” songs. And if you listen closely to the lyrics, those words just might be speaking to your own life.
CC: Yes, I love it! Music is the best thing on this planet.
LD: Well, Miss Cha Cha Kennedy, I can tell that a great portion of you is embedded within music, and this music varies and changes and stretches across vast expanses. It’s always a pleasure talking with my favorite DJ and Hip Hop music director! Is there anything else you’d like to say?
CC: (laughs) well thank you very much Lio D,  and I would just like to thank you also for interviewing me. Just to emphasize these are five songs important to my childhood, and I hope others can get a good laugh or enjoyment from these tracks.
LD: I’m sure my readers will enjoy everything you’ve had to say. Thank you for being with us tonight and we can’t wait to hear from you again!
Charine Gonzales, known across the airwaves as Cha Cha, is a sophomore at Fort Lewis College majoring in Communications. She has a weekly radio show and is also the Hip-Hop music director at KDUR. Charine is a friend, she is an artist, and above all she is a human being completely in love with music.