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Tell a friend U2 3D

U2 3D

I accidentally invited bleeding-edge tech journalist Robert Scoble to a private Kyte party. How it unfolded is a little embarrassing, but suffice it to say that the moral of the story is, don’t be Twittering first thing in the morning when you should be busy getting some work done anyway.

After drinks and deep-fried snacks at Johnny Foley’s Irish Pub & Restaurant, the Kyte team, along with Scoble and his Fast Company podcast producer Rocky Barbanica (a disarmingly affable fellow, despite looking like someone who drives a Harley and could be menacing in a dark alley), headed over to the Metreon to see U2 3D in the IMAX movie theatre.

I wasn’t sure what to expect, and, to be honest, I probably would have been more excited at the outset by a presentation of Aliens of the Deep or Magnificent Desolation: Walking on the Moon. With a movie of a U2 concert, I assumed I’d get bored and space out, wishing I could be Twittering from my mobile phone without being rude to my fellow attendees who’d prefer to sit in pitch-darkness. (I was wrong about the movie; read on.)

It’s not that I dislike U2. In fact, in the ’80s I used to listen incessantly to War on vinyl, lifting the needle at the end of "Seconds" and setting it down at the beginning of "Sunday Bloody Sunday" over and over again, sometimes taking a break from this two-set to listen to "Drowning Man" or "40." When I lived in "Oblique House," a small temporary co-op in Oberlin, Ohio during the summer of 1989, a friend who was a studio musician tuned his guitar to The Joshua Tree and played impeccable renditions of "Where the Streets Have No Name," "I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For," and "In God’s Country." He emulated The Edge’s signature textural style (although neither of us remembers if he’d used delay taps to mimic the "shimmer" effect). Better even than listening to the album on a top-of-the-line sound system, it sounded like a private U2 concert in our house. Later, when I traveled through the southwest, I couldn’t look at any of the ubiquitous Joshua trees without thinking of the eponymous album. Tangentially, Boo owns an original Negativland’s U2 EP (rereleased under another title), purchased just before U2’s former label Island Records sued Negativland, a controversial lawsuit that the U2 members themselves thought was "very heavy."

But I stopped buying albums after Achtung Baby and years later realized that I’d quit listening to U2’s newer stuff altogether — with the possible exception of "Beautiful Day" from All That You Can’t Leave Behind (simply because it was unavoidable in the media and the public sphere). It wasn’t intentional on my part; perhaps it was because the anger and intensity of War (still my favorite U2 album) appealed to me more than the sweeter, feel-good material of later years. (It’s analogous to — though not as extreme as — my erstwhile enthrallment with Disposable Heroes Of Hiphoprisy in the early ’90s before Michael Franti turned into a hippie peacenik; his sound mellowed out and got boring, at least compared to his previous musical incarnations. If I wanted tepid, unchallenging music, I’d listen to smooth jazz.)

Nevertheless, it’s fairly easy to get in the mood for a U2 concert, virtual or live. U2 is like The Beatles, comprising a solid, talented quartet of British Isles musicians with names memorized by millions around the globe, known for their iconic radio hits as much as for their social activism. At this point, U2 is classic — and one would be hard-pressed to find anyone who doesn’t like their music.

Posted January 30, 2008 by Mariva in entertainment, innovations, media, movies, music, technology

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Tell a friend found my thrill

Fats Domino, Alive and Kickin'

Thank goodness Fats Domino was found alive and well after the Katrina disaster in his native New Orleans. He was found in his home in the Ninth Ward, although some say he was actually found on Blueberry Hill. Domino is 78 years old, and despite losing his home, he’s in good spirits and still making music. He’s donating the proceeds from his latest album, Alive and Kickin’, to the Tipitina’s Foundation, an organization dedicated to rebuilding the music culture of New Orleans. On NPR’s All Things Considered, Domino demonstrates the rhythmic and tempo difference between rhythm and blues and rock and roll, a shift that occurred in popular music during the ’50s.

Posted March 14, 2006 by Mariva in arts, community, entertainment, music, news

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Tell a friend geek meets hip hop

Treo    Late Registration, by Kanye West

The Treo mail alert Swoosh sounds a lot like the background piano drops in Kanye West’s song "Heard ‘Em Say," which is Track 2 on Late Registration (also available through iTunes). Every time mail is received, I start singing:

Nothing’s ever promised tomorrow today
Nothing lasts forever — but be honest Babe,
it hurts but it may be the only way. . . .

Posted March 8, 2006 by Mariva in entertainment, fun, gadgets, music

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Tell a friend Geisha fashion

Fresh "Memoirs of a Geisha" beauty collection

Oh, man. With all due respect to Crash, Reese Witherspoon and, um, Three 6 MafiaBrokeback Mountain, Felicity Huffman and Dolly Parton were robbed. Oh, Oscar, I wish I knew how to quit you.

Also overlooked — by critics and the Academy alike — was Memoirs of a Geisha. While visually stunning in its cinematic narrative, Geisha may have made the critics happier if the screenplay had been bookended by (warning: spoilers — you may highlight the following white text if you’ve already seen the movie) scenes of New York City as the novel had been. I believe this would have made the story more cohesive and satisfying — especially to those who hadn’t read the book. But heck, what do I know.

The movie may not have inspired critics, but it did inspire Geisha fashion, renewed popularity of the Maiko Barbie Doll, and — from Fresh, makers of my new favorite scent — the "Memoirs of a Geisha" beauty collection.

Posted March 6, 2006 by Mariva in arts, beauty, books, fashion, gifts, movies, music

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Tell a friend Miri Ben-Ari: hip-hop violinist

Miri Ben-Ari, the "Hip-Hop Violinist"

I sometimes find myself intrigued with the classical or jazz instrumentalists featured in pop, rock or hip-hop songs. Who are they, and how did the pop artists and producers find them? One such musician is Israeli-born, classically trained violinist Miri Ben-Ari, who arranged nearly all the string arrangements — sometimes haunting, other times uplifting and lovely — on Kanye West’s debut album The College Dropout.

Because of her unique application of violin technique, Ben-Ari has been dubbed "the Hip-Hop Violinist." She has released a CD (explicit, clean) with the selfsame title, which features various hip-hop artists.

Posted February 27, 2006 by Mariva in arts, entertainment, music

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Tell a friend Valentine’s Day alternatives

Valentine's Day alternatives

Some people love February 14, in all its pink-blouse-and-red-sweater glory; others resent its existence and wish it would just disappear from the calendar. For those not celebrating romantic love today, I offer some alternatives:

Posted February 14, 2006 by Mariva in community, edibles, holidays, music, resources, social

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Tell a friend the best love songs

romantic music

If you’re looking for romantic audio material for Valentine’s Day, you can’t go wrong with the standards performed by the great jazz vocalists of the mid-twentieth century (and a few songs by "modern" artists as well). I’ve compiled my recommendations below, which are available via iTunes — or you can try your luck with Pandora.

Posted February 13, 2006 by Mariva in holidays, music

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Tell a friend Pandora, the Music Genome Project

Pandora, the Music Genome Project

Ever wish there were a radio station that played exactly what you wanted to hear? Well, there is — sort of. Pandora is an online project put together by music experts who’ve spent the past five years analyzing recorded songs from over 10,000 different artists. The analysts have assembled hundreds of musical attributes — or "genes" — into a massive database, which they call the "Music Genome."

Posted January 23, 2006 by Mariva in entertainment, fun, innovations, music

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Tell a friend winter holiday music

Jethro Tull Christmas Album Jethro Tull Christmas Album
I’ve never been much of a Deadhead, but as youthful musical obsessions go, I would say I was definitely more of a Tull Skull. As such, this is one of my favorite winter holiday albums. Please don’t ask me what the lyrics mean; I usually don’t have a clue. But the album is delightful nonetheless — very solstitial.

Posted December 20, 2005 by Mariva in entertaining, entertainment, gifts, holidays, home, music

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Tell a friend the antisocial bagpiper

bagpipes radio story

I often find the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s daily news show As It Happens amusing in a, well, Canadian sort of way. While much of the news comprises standard reports about national or global affairs, some segments focus on stories with a distinctly maple leaf flavor, such as fishing contests, hockey games, hunting adventures and so on. But stories set in other countries have a folksy tone as well. A story on December 9 had me cracking up: Andrew Caulfield, a thirteen-year-old bagpiper, had gotten in trouble with the city council of Paisley, Scotland for playing his bagpipes too loudly and disturbing a neighbor. The council threatened to label the boy as "antisocial." Listen as Caulfield recites a litany of what antisocial really means. (Forward your audio player to 21 minutes, 37 seconds to listen to the 8-minute segment.)

Posted December 16, 2005 by Mariva in entertainment, music, news

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