Our Valentine’s Day tradition of going to see the NYC Ballet at Lincoln Center continued last night – with a lovely performance of Coppelia. It was my first time seeing Coppelia and I have to say: It was one of the funniest and enjoyable ballets I’ve seen in a while. There were a few laugh out loud moments and, when the students of the American School of Ballet took the stage in Act 3, everyone ohhh’d and awww’d. Megan Fairchild’s performance was amazing – as usual. She’s quickly becoming one of my favorite dancers. Andrew Vayette was also marvelous – his performance of Franz was comedic and athletically beautiful.
Also at the venue was the art installment from the NYC Ballet’s Art Series. NYCB Art Series commissions contemporary artists to create original works of art inspired by our unique energy, spectacular dancers, and one-of-a-kind repertory of ballets. This year’s work was done by French Artist JR and was amazing. Take a look:
I’ve been wrestling with a lot of shit lately. Deep profound shit with sprinkles of superficial, mundane stuff. At UMass, I learned that they called sprinkles “jimmies.” The jimmies in my life are really making it hard on me to dial into that deep reservoir in my soul that I used to be so good at visiting from time to time. The thing about Jimmies is that each singular one really doesn’t have any flavor. All sugar and fluff. But together, they really can change the flavor of what you’re eating. And that’s the thing, I feel like I’m picking each jimmie out one at at a time; slowly digesting but not really comprehending what is going on…and yet all of them together is creating something that I really can’t describe…but I don’t like it…
If this is my #Geezus year (33rd year and all), then I guess it’s the year where I strip away these jimmies and figure out what matters most to me. How can I get baptized into what passions will drive my life? I come to myself with the sins of my past, seeking repentance, seeking guidance, and seeking a path to live from this day forward. But, I haven’t given my precious blood away. But perhaps I have? Have I sacrificed things – important things – to accomplish others that I prioritized. Or mis-prioritized? What is this thing that I’m seeking that I can’t seem to uncover anymore?
These are just passing thoughts – thoughts not yet formed. I guess it’s what everyone is seeking. I know I’m not special in these insecurities. Or this introspection…
The Polar Vortex is what they are calling this frigid weather that is engulfing half of the country now. It’s still around 40 degrees in NYC, but the temperature is going to drop into single digits – with wind chill making it feel as cold as -25 degrees. Now, being from Syracuse, you’d think I’d be okay with the cold weather but I am not. Somewhere the kid that wore flip flops to check the mail in the winter snow now can’t tolerate temperatures below freezing. But, all this will hopefully allow me to continue reading and writing and working on the projects that I want to accomplish in 2014.
With the year coming to an end, I used to write a variety of “best album” or “best song” collections. As I’ve aged, I’ve been less inclined to write those lists – I simply don’t pay enough attention to new music as much as I’ve used to.
But music is a personal thing and it might have been the year that I listened to music the most (Thanks Spotify!). The year was dominated by Hip Hop – probably a combination of my job, the city, and the fact that I did not really emotionally connect with any rock album this year (with the exception of a 16 year old girl from NZ). Anyway, without further ado – here’s my list (in no particular order).
Kanye West – New Slaves
I’m the resident Kanye West apologist of my friends, so despite his ever increasing controversy – I felt that 2013 was a great year for him. I, personally, loved Yeezus and think it is an amazing album. New Slaves was the stand out track for me and really was less a change for Kanye, but more an evolution of what he’s been talking about since College Dropout (Listen to All Falls Down…).
Kendrick Lamar – Backseat Freestyle
My album of the year for 2012 was probably “good kid, m.a.a.d city” by Kendrick Lamar. The album in its entirety is amazing and a moving artistic description of life in the city. I’ve written about Sing About Me, but the song off the album that dominated my playlists in ’13 was easily Backseat Freestyle. It made my gym mix. It made almost every playlist I made. It is hip hop in a pure form that I like – with the fun, grandiose, bravado that I look for in my music.
Sleigh Bells – Bitter Rivals
Sleigh Bells is just my favorite rock band out there and the opening track of their new album was easily my favorite.
Lorde – A World Alone
It’s really hard for me to pick a song off of Lorde’s debut album “Pure Heroin.” The entire album probably dominated my spotify listening for the latter half of the year. A World Alone has one of my favorite lines from a songwriter in a long time though – one I used ad nauseam this year as it was appropriate far too many times: “Maybe the internet raised us…or maybe people are jerks.” It’s weird being 33 and connecting with the lyrics of a 16 year old girl, but art is a wonderful thing.
Robin Thicke – Blurred Lines (Feat. Pharrell and T.I.)
I can’t say that I really liked the song when I first listened to it, but by the end of the summer it was practically inescapable. It was at the center of my work life and, due to the constant airplay, my social life as well. With the music video and VMAs, it will go down as one of the songs of the year from a pop perspective.
Jay Z – Tom Ford
This song might be the reason I am looking to rock Tom Ford at my wedding next fall (Mr. Ford’s amazing sartorial sense would be the primary reason), but it didn’t feel right having this list without Mr. Carter making an appearance. Honestly, there’s a part of me that feels that this song was “lazy” on the part of Jay Z, but the beat and the catchiness just makes it something I couldn’t stop listening to. I still need more digesting of MCHG – it was not an easy listen for me but has grown on me at points.
A$AP Rocky – Fucking Problems
I love A$AP, but this song was all about Kendrick and 2 Chainz. Carefree confidence and pure fun – that’s what I love about Hip Hop and the verses in that are exactly that.
Those are the songs that really stood out this year. There were artists whose albums I enjoyed a lot – J. Cole, Pusha T, Eleanor Friedberger, BOY…to name a few), but they didn’t have that standout song (for me.)
Did I miss a song that you loved? An album that I need to check out? Want to get into an argument over ‘Ye? Hit me up on Twitter or leave a comment….
Beautiful and thought provoking photographs from Justin Bartels.
“IMPRESSION Series showcasing what women go through to attract, shows the actual imprints left on their skin from the binding apparel they wear. All Images ©justinalexanderbartels.com”