Sunday, August 09, 2009


This may come as a shock, but I am not often associated with two genres of music....rap and opera. I know, I know it's surprising but given my general whiteness, my punk rock background and my gangly tall stature, people just don't usually see my inner bling. Or my inner high C.
But they are there alright.

A musician acquaintance of mine randomly called me a few days ago to ask if I would be interested in singing some opera/choir type music for Diam's, a female French rap artist. Not knowing who Diam's is, I said "yeah sure...I'm no opera singer but I can certainly fake it." :)
You know, cause I'm SO hip hop opera and everything.

I told FB about it...

ME: Yeah, so I have a gig on Saturday singing opera for someone named Diam's or Diamonds or something like that.
FB: (pause) NO WAY.
ME: Yes way, why?
FB: Do you know who she is????!!
ME: Um, a rapper?
FB: Dude, she is REALLY famous here. It's like going to sing for Missy Elliot. That's amazing, I'm telling the lab right now, they're gonna freak OUT. YOU singing for Diam's HA!'re singing opera??
ME: Um, YEEEESSS. I can TOTALLY sing opera.

I practiced my fake operatic trills all morning in the shower followed by a hip hop "yyyeeeh yeeeeeeaaahhh".
"AAAAHHHHHH OOOOOHHHHHH EEEEEEE.....yyyyyeah, yyyyyyyeah, c'mon, c'mon"
I totally got this in the BAG.

The gig ended up being really REALLY fun. Fake understanding direction in French while fake opera singing for a rap record might be my new favorite past-time. I have a friend in NY who calls moments like these "now I'm a ballerina!".
Just put enough balls on and pretend and you really CAN do anything.

And for the record, Diam's (aka Mélanie) is a DOLL. I love her music and I love her political views and activism. She is also one of those artists who is actually nice to everyone around her. The producers were super sweet, the studio guys were great and I got paid well for my efforts.

Life should always involve epic levels of randomness.
Merci, Diam's.
Do you need any backup dancers? Cause I could TOTALLY do that too. ;)

Tuesday, August 04, 2009


I live down the street from the Eiffel Tower. I can see it from my window (well, if I crane my neck hard right), the sparkly lights shining on summer nights and the search beacon piercing through the fog each winter. Every night I think "OMG I live in PAAAAAARIS and that's the frickin' Eiffel TOOOOOWER".
Then I smile.
Or look pensive....depending on which music video I am pretending to be in that night.

But, like most tourist attractions I have lived close to, I have never actually been inside it. Or up it. So when my dear friend Sue came to town this past week with her family in tow, I was more than happy to take the walk down the street to meet them for a night journey up into the tower. I should have known what was in store when it took me a lot longer than I expected to walk there. One hour later, I realized why you can actually see the Eiffel Tower from my window.

Because it is REALLY FUCKING BIG, that's why.

After giving my usual speech about not asking me any pertinent questions about when it was built or the guy's name who designed it or anything other than what color it is because I actually AM the worst tour guide on the planet, we braved the long line and shoved our way into the window elevator. Smashed up against a window, hurling upwards, the city spread itself before my eyes. Higher and higher, my heart jumps into my throat as I think one thing only....


I usually "forget" all the things I am scared um, heights. I talk a big game all the time, "Yyyyyyyyeah, one day I'm TOTALLY gonna skydive, bungee off a bridge, maybe onto a cliff. Then dive into the Colorado River.....maybe para-sail off the coast of know how it goes. Of course, this is all after I para-glide off the Alps next season."

Cut to airless elevator face pressed against glass, the beginnings of hyperventilation and knees buckling....yeah, you're a regular Top Gun there, champ. The six year old next to you has more balls.

Exit onto the first level deck.
Be cool.
Be cool.
(look down)
OK, not so cool.
OK, DEFINITELY not cool.

It helps to have a friend in terror. I was genuinely excited when Sue informed me that she was about as high as she wanted to go that night, and maybe in her we just waited patiently on the deck for the rest of her family, gazing up at the 2/3 of the tower we would NOT be visiting and taking terror shots of each other.

"Ha, I'm so glad we're not going UP THERE."
"Yeah me too, NO WAY am I going up there."
"No WAY."
"TOTALLY no way."
"I'm ready to go back down when you are. You ready?"
"TOTALLY ready to go back down."

Enter sister-in law:
"Hey you guys! We decided we are going to the top, OK? You ready to go?"
Clear throat.

"Uh.....yeah....sure am....."

Especially after I caught a glimpse of the tiny tiny string that pulls the big big elevator....

24 minutes of terror on top of the world is all I needed to resolve that I would never ever in a million billion years bungee off of ANYTHING, much less para-glide off the ALPS.

Someone had the bright idea to take the stairs on the way down. The stairs. Staircase after staircase, a never-ending metal jungle....around and down, around and down, the ground never seeming any closer while vertigo quickly setting in on me...

SUE: "You OK?"
ME: "Yeah....uh....(pant pant)...this is just....(round and down) kinda funny and all.....ha (round and down) kinda like my recurring nightmare that uh....I've been having since I was a child."
SUE: "Oh wow, what's that?"
ME: "It's uh.....I'm walking on endless stairs really high up and's actually uh....exactly this. (round and down) So uh.....don't really wanna talk about it or uh....describe it more or even really discuss it right now at ALL...'cause uh....I am actually LIVING my recurring nightmare at this very moment. I'm living it...and it's real....and uh.....I'm about to freak the fuck out and everything...."
SUE: "Yikes. OK."
(round and down, round and down, round and down, round and down......)

We made it.
And I've already forgotten the terror.
I'm TOTALLY paragliding off the Alps this winter.