Friday, October 24, 2008


In the past month, out the clear blue, I landed two jobs scoring two different films. One feature and one short. They are both due by December and as I made my usual excel spreadsheet to chart out everything, it quickly dawned on me the MASSIVE extent of work I have ahead of me in the next two months. Gulp. In the last week I have been outside my apartment once a day to go grocery shopping and that's it. The rest of the time - morning, noon and night is spent in my home studio, writing, recording and placing music to images. Yesterday I started to feel really really really insane so I went for a quick walk and was actually surprised to hear people speaking French on the sidewalk.
Oh, yeah. I am so holed up I actually forgot I was in Paris.

I love, love, LOVE scoring film. I have already done one feature film and countless songs for television. Adding another story and another life to an image and seeing a magic result gives me a natural high. My favorite film scores are movies by Wes Anderson, Paul Thomas Anderson, the Coen Brothers, Tim Burton and Gus Van Sant. They all use an eclectic mix of licensed tracks and/or they have genius songwriters like Danny Elfman and Mark Mothersbaugh scoring.

I have no budget to license any popular music for the scores so I am aiming as high as possible (quelle surprise)....can't license big expensive songs? OK, no problem. Just write a ton of songs really fast (in multiple genres, everything from punk to lounge to country) and hire all your musician friends to come together to make it happen. I just LOVE organizing and a movie score brings out the best talents in me. I was flipped out last week about my lack of knowledge of the industry standard recording software, Pro Tools. As in, my usual sobbing on the bathroom floor while giving myself hives sort of freak out. But with some help from my friends (thank you Byrd and Chicky), some online tutorials and something I never seem to have enough of - less tears and more patience, I am working my way along just fine.

I might not be posting a whole lot (especially about Paris considering I forgot I live here but hey, it sounds mysterious for the scored in Paris, ooh lala) until these two projects are finished, but I'll be around, looking at the world through music colored glasses and figuring out if country music or a punk song would fit best. I was in the shower the other day and had an idea for my next business venture - write personal theme songs for people. Wouldn't YOU want a theme song of your own to play each time you feel down? (Or I could customize it and if you are feeling too up, something to bring you down, WAY down)

"Oh Dana....everything is daaaaaark in your wooooorld..." (insert organ dirge)

I'd have an initial consultation with a list of questions......

1. In what ways do you rock? Be specific.
2. In what situations do you most feel your rockness?
3. What kind of music makes you feel fired up? As in, MAN do I ROCK!
All genres welcome.

They would make wonderful birthday/anniversary gifts or stocking stuffers.
Oh the ideas, they are a flowin' these days. :)

Thursday, October 16, 2008


It started slowly, quietly and I almost didn't realize what was happening until it was too late to do anything about it. French classes at the Alliance Francaise rotate students in and out every week so the classes are like waves of ever-changing social dynamics. What started out happily as my quiet collaborative French class of mostly Asian students and myself, by week four had turned itself into unruly three hour shouting matches between Italy and Brazil with occasional outbursts from Spain and some disjointed lengthy wastes of "I can't even formulate a question but I am going to sit here for five minutes and mumble something while I hold up class for the 6th time in an hour" guessed it....California.

Am I the ONLY one who actually WANTS to learn French? And learn French efficiently? My teacher is very nice but she is prone to letting students drone on and on and ON and OOOONNNNN about whatever topic they want at whatever point they want to during class. In the beginning, this wasn't really an issue. But one by one as the loud, belligerent most annoying "WHY ARE YOU EVEN HERE" students infiltrated, they tested the boundaries, found none and proceeded to hijack every class. If I wanted to listen to bad, uncorrected French for three hours, all I need to do is open my own mouth. Why am I sitting in class for this? I made a TANGENT CHART and at last count the average number of interruptions per class is standing strong at 38. Why bother speaking French when you can shout in Portugese across the room? Why bother paying attention when it's OK to use an electronic translator that SPEAKS Chinese throughout class? Why bother learning French grammar when you can instead argue and INSIST every day with the French teacher who is FRENCH that "In Italian it is not like this! You don't do that! You are not right!" Are you seeeeerious? WE ARE IN FRENCH CLASS. WHY are you insulted that the teacher would even DARE to teach something that's not ITALIAN??? I am not paying a whopping 336 euro a month to listen to you flex your imaginary brain muscles and last time I checked? I DON'T CARE ABOUT ITALIAN. I LIVE IN FRANCE. F-R-A-N-C-E.
Where they speak FRENCH.
That language I don't know.
The one I am PAYING to learn while the minutes tick off on your diarrhea of the mouth/I just wanna hear myself talk some more tangent.

I've officially had it with this sitcom situation where everyone is a cliché of their country. I am clearly the snotty New York bitch who thinks she's better than everyone. I try and show up late to class (in black) so I can best gauge where to sit the furthest away from the battle of the dimwits but there are too many of them now, it's impossible to escape. They are in France for only a few months, half of them don't even do the homework anymore and I sit desperately rolling my eyes at the teacher, BEGGING her to DO something. In NEW YORK time, please.

I feel that my time at the Alliance Francaise is slowly turning me into an eye rolling racist asshole so I have decided to cut off classes after next week and take another breather before I really start assuming things based on peoples' country and place of origin. Or I totally lose my shit altogether, join a secessionist movement and vote for McCain or something.

I'll be back again but I'm going to insist on getting my old teacher back from January, the one who made me cry and openly made fun of students. Hey, at least the students were too scared to speak much during class. Well...everyone except Italy. ;)

Tuesday, October 07, 2008


I am the proud recipient of another amazing music video made by my dear friend, Adrianne Jorge. She rules and she ruled Burgundy on our shoot there this summer. Go to youtube and watch it in high quality....merci Adrianne!
xoxo Dana

p.s. My album is on itunes now. Hooray.

Thursday, October 02, 2008


A music booker asked me to email my stage plan to him.
So I did. Written on a giant blackboard.
It's now the centerpiece art in our home and my new favorite thing.
I think that everyone (musician or otherwise) should draw up their own stage plan and pin it to the wall to remind yourself of the magic balls of fire within you.
If you were to ROCK THE UNIVERSE with the POWER of your very BEING...where would YOU stand?
Stage left? Stage right? Or flying from the rafters with flames coming from your wings?
Having a bad day?
Well, just look at your wall and remember the LIGHTNING coming from your ROCKNESS.

That's it.
I'm drawing flames on the guitars right now and lightning bolts shooting from my accordion....

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

IN SEARCH OF..........

I like finding things out by myself. I know it's the long way of exploring a place and I know there are plenty of opinions to be found about what is good in Paris, where to go, where not to go. But I simply prefer approaching things like a five year old with no knowledge and no expectations and without someone's opinion etched into my mind. It leads to conversations like....

ME: OH MY GOD, I found the MOST AMAZING bakery today that sells artisan bread and these butter cookies that are SO AAAAWESOME.
YOU: Poilane?
ME: Uh, yeah. How'd you know?
YOU: Cause it's a really old and famous bakery.
ME: Oh. Well, totally. Yeah. That place ROCKS!

It's just.....more fun for me this way.

My latest search has been more difficult. I didn't fully realize the complications of foraging for food in a tourist area before I actually moved into one. I've never lived in a tourist trap before. One by one I have written off all the overpriced and less than mediocre restaurants on my block bordering the 6th and 7th arrondissements. I can't even afford to be mediocre here. My hopes were raised when the epicerie around the corner on rue des Saint Peres opened at the beginning of September. YES! They were then smashed into bits when the small rotisserie chicken I purchased came to a total of 26€. I visibly choked when the cashier rang me up. 26 FRICKIN' EURO FOR A PIECE OF CHICKEN????!! I at least hoped it would be the best rotisserie chicken I ever ate but as I chewed the dry bits of chicken trying to calculate how many euro each bite cost, I realized I had been taken for another mediocre and overpriced ride.
GONE are the 2 euro Indian meals I could easily have when I lived in the 10th. GONE are the surprise and wealth of little hole in the wall restaurants offering tasty bits for not a whole lot of money. And if it sucked, oh well. What did you expect for 3 euro? Suivant.

So I cook a lot. But now I have to deal with the Monoprix St. Germain where, despite trying to do my shopping at every hour of day, it remains a hellion of crowded shoppers and lackluster produce. La Grande Epicerie is way out of my league for any regular shopping and the produce stand on Rue de Seine is So yesterday I went to check out the Marché St. Germain in my usual style of not reading anything about a place beforehand and just going. Expecting an actual food market, I rolled in with my wheely cart. And stopped. I in New Jersey now? Uh, is that a food court I see? Is this Short Hills Mall? Is there a Hot Topic here too? And more importantly, can I get cheese fries? Is this air conditioned? Uh......where's the....marché? Wait, am I still in France?

After rolling past The Gap and Zara, I finally found the market tucked into a back corner. Empty but for a few shoppers, there was not a whole lot of choice there but hey, at least I'm not being run down by carts and pushy people in Monoprix. I have already written off the fish vendor at the front who sold me tuna steaks covered in scales (um, how does one manage that?) and Merlan filets filled with bones but the butcher seems alright, the produce hasn't been toooo bad and I got a nice bottle of wine from the caviste.

In the meantime, I will keep not doing any research at all and instead just blindly walk the streets one by one in search of something better.....