Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Look Before You Leap!

Happy Leap Year Day! Would have been a good day for a RBIT performance...

This is one of my favorite scenes from the 1999 movie Magnolia, a rather surreal moment where frogs literally rain from the skies. 

Listening to the radio this morning, I learned that Leap Year is a time when many women turn the tables and propose to men (hey... it might have happened, had I dragged my feet any longer!). Also, those born on this date are believed to have unusual gifts... and exactly how old are those babies? 

An odd day. Should be great. Today we have a photo crew at the Museum setting up a Christmas tree and train set, and there's no snow on the ground... in late February! This should be interesting. I didn't check the weather forecast... chance of frogs?

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Farewell Mama Bear

News today that artist/author Jan Berenstain, co-creator of the Berenstain Bears children's books, died last Friday, February 24. Along with her husband, the late Stan Berenstain, she created over 300 books (over 40 years!) dedicated to a family of moral teaching cartoon bears.

I did not grow up with this series−my favorites as a kid were books like Maurice Sendak's Where The Wild Things Are and Golden Press' The Monster at the End of This Book (notice a trend?). I'm not sure I would have really cared for the Bears had I been exposed to them, but I am aware of how popular they have been with modern-day children (apparently my niece is their biggest fan). The fact that they get children to read is a good thing, hopefully leading to more.

I had the opportunity to meet Jan and Stan Berenstain back in 2002, when I traveled to their home in Doylestown, Pennsylvania, to conduct an interview for the Norman Rockwell Museum exhibition The Berenstain Bears Celebrate: The Art of Stan and Jan Berenstain. This was the first exhibition video I created for the Museum, so it meant a lot at the time. The exhibit and video would go on to travel, and were even on view at the Strong National Museum of Play, in my hometown of Rochester, New York. 

I thought the following sequence was the most effective part of the video, where we went into the couple's studio and learned about how they worked. This really was where they came to life and seemed the most comfortable. So here's to you, Jan and Stan... wishing you peace in that big treehouse in the sky.

Related Links:

"Jan Berenstain, Co-Creator Of Berenstain Bears, Dies," NPR, 2/28/12

"A bear-hug farewell to Jan Berenstain, cocreator of the Bear family," 
Philadelphia Inquirer, 2/28/12

"Jan Berenstain Dies at 88; Created Berenstain Bears," New York Times, 2/27/12

Monday, February 27, 2012

Hi de Hi de Hi Road

The great PBS series American Masters returns tonight with a program that sounds promising: Cab Calloway: Sketches takes a look at the legendary singer/dancer/bandleader, who was actually born in my hometown of Rochester, New York! Known for his popular 1930s novelty song, "Minnie the Moucher," he would go on to be a major star, breaking the color barrier in entertainment with his catchy jazz numbers, stylish zoot suits and dance moves that paved the way for Michael Jackson's "Moonwalk."

Watch Cab Calloway: Sketches on PBS. See more from American Masters.

Another reason I am anxious to see it is that is was produced by filmmaker Gail Levin, who I got to know back in 2008 through her involvement in the Norman Rockwell Museum exhibition Raw Nerve! The Political Art of Steve Brodner. Gail had created several mini-films with the illustrator, which tied in perfectly to the 2008 presidential election (God, has it already been four years?). The clips are great fun and fit in perfectly with the exhibition and mood around election time (they were originally created for PBS). 

Gail was also nice enough to offer me some advice on navigating the film and video production world. I was actually pleased to hear (from Steve Brodner) about this Cab Calloway documentary airing, because Gail had first told me about its completion back in 2010 (financed by the French/German consortium ARTE, and the Dutch production company AVRO). The fact that American Masters picked it up is a good sign, but also interesting for me to see another example of what it takes to produce and then properly distribute films.

So far I hear good reviews for the film, and it sounds like it is being presented in a unique way, similar to the old Gene Kelly movie where he dances with Jerry mouse. There are some animated sequences that bring Calloway to life to move with a dancer from Alvin Ailey. Not surprisingly, the artwork for the animation was created by Steve Brodner, who also appears in the film sketching the musician.

This reminds me of the fun I had filming Steve myself back during the Rockwell exhibition. Here are a few "musical" clips I created... it is an election year, after all... hi de hi de hi!!!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Silence is Golden

Ok, I know I was talking last week about how much I loved Woody Allen's Midnight in Paris, and wouldn't it be great if the film won an Oscar for its refreshing escape from modern-day insanity... well, Sarah and I finally got to see The Artist today, and I think that film might be hard to beat. It goes back to roughly the same time as Allen's film, but also employs a very creative method to tell the story of the rise and fall of a silent movie star− with no words.

It's true: about 90% of the black and white film is without any spoken dialogue, relying instead on the occasional movie card (just like the silent movies) and a beautiful score by composer Ludovic Bource. The rest is up to great storytelling and actors, who show a lot of passion and conviction here. The two leads− Jean Dujardin as silent film star George Valentin; and Bérénice Bejo as actress Peppy Miller, who successfully transitions to the talking movie era− are incredibly charming, and showed a really nice chemistry that we understood perfectly. Valentin also has a pet dog who really should get an Oscar as well for best performance by an animal− he brought to mind the lovable Asta from the old Thin Man movies from the 1930s. I have seen a couple silent films from Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton, and Fritz Lang's amazing Metropolis (still impressive to this day!), so there was a lot that I felt successfully paid tribute to that bygone era.

However, there are those who have criticized the film for that very reason. An article in yesterday's Atlantic  argues that the film doesn't deserve the Best Picture Oscar because the writer feels that it's winning would endorse the idea of recreating the past instead of "striving for originality and present relevance." I'm not sure I agree with this writer. The movie feels quite relevant to me in this age where, as The Daily Beast's Tina Brown points out, "the arrival of the Internet has turned lives and careers upside down with the same seismic irreversibility as the arrival of the talkies. Everyone has to reinvent now or die."

I spent a week with colleagues discussing the changing face of marketing: social media, online presence, QR codes, etc. Things are moving real fast− some beneficial, others seeming to call out for a little more analysis and thought. I see some people getting pretty burnt out trying to keep up with "the machine"... and taking things in? I know from my own occasionally distracted experience that this information overload is not necessarily making us more efficient workers. But like George Valentin, you don't keep up with the times and you may find yourself silenced for good.

I certainly consider myself progressive, but the past can serve to ground us. As a music lover, I have to agree with Dave Grohl's speech at the Grammy Awards where he criticized the use of computers to make things perfect. I think he was dead-on in indirectly calling out the use of Auto-Tune and other software that is making some modern music sound quite soulless. The same goes for film− there are many movies that I find unwatchable, with their over-reliance on CGI to the point that nothing looks real on the screen. I guess my point is that technology should be used to help and expand our lives, not rob it of its beauty.

Sarah remarked to me after seeing the film that she thought there was some color in there... surely Peppy's coat at one point, or the streets...  no, I don't think there was. The film was made pretty old school, right down to the aspect ratio, with some modern flourishes that helped the film's theme... it stood out, like many of the modern-day "retro soul" singers do, because it had depth. On the other hand, some critics have argued that The Artist's story was slight and predictable, and that even Midnight in Paris was nothing new... well, both of these films sparked my imagination, and made me want to go back and learn about the silent movie era, or 1920s Paris... they just felt good, celebrated a love of the movies/art, and were meaningful in the way that they both made me stop and consider the way things are moving...

So here's to the past and future− hoping to find the best of both worlds, in order to enhance our daily lives and create beautiful work.

Related Links:

"Why The Artist Should Win The Best Picture Oscar," The Guardian, February 7, 2012

"Oscars: Cinematography nominees discuss film versus digital," Los Angeles Times,
February 19, 2012

"'Plug In Better': A Manifesto," The Atlantic, February 14, 2012

Friday, February 24, 2012


What a week.

At least my co-worker Debbie made my day by giving me some .mov files her boyfriend had filmed on his iPod of our January 20th improv show-- so great to learn that some of that show (my triumphant return to RBIT) was documented!

Here, my friend/fellow improv mate Frank La Frazia and I play "Musical Nightmare." I don't know why they call it that, because I was in "seventh heaven" playing this game, where we suddenly had to burst into song in the middle of a scene whenever our buddy Neil Von Flatern started playing guitar. Before we started, we asked the audience to suggest a relationship-- they came up with firemen. I decided to play a newbie fireman who was just learning the ropes... er, hose (sort of like the feeling of doing improv again). We had the audience clapping and singing... it felt great! Like a real gospel revival (well, it was a former church). So, here's my post of the day.... next RBIT show will be Friday, March 16 at the Spectrum Playhouse in Lee, MA (just past the firehouse).

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Oh, Radio Canada...

Taking time out at lunch to get my blog on...

I had a very pleasant phone chat this morning with a producer from the offices of the Canadian Broadcasting Company based in Winnipeg (where one of Norman Rockwell Museum's traveling exhibitions opens next week). They are looking to conduct an interview with an authority on Norman Rockwell... the catch is that it needs to be done in French! I'm lost beyond "bonjour," so I had to turn to someone else to help facilitate. Luckily, one of Rockwell's models, who used to work at the Museum, speaks fairly fluently. I think it is a great choice, since she will obviously have a lot to talk about.

This producer seems to be a pretty interesting guy as well. He seems to really enjoy his job, and I can tell from his enthusiasm about the arts, culture, and history, that he must produce some pretty fascinating features.

Growing up close to Ontario, I too share a fondness for Canada. The culture seems, at times, more modest and thoughtful than that of the good old U.S., and I find that refreshing. Not long ago I stumbled upon a great program being produced on the CBC called Q in fact, I was just listening to one of the show podcasts on the ride in today. The host, Jian Ghomeshi, covers everything from politics, literature, the arts, and music. The latter is particularly strong, and makes sense because the host also has a background as a musician. It was only after I started listening to his podcast that I realized he was, at one time, the lead singer for the band Moxy Fruvous, which I had enjoyed and seen in concert several times back in the late 90s–early 2000s. Maybe Ghomeshi's experience as a performer gives him an edge as a radio talk show host, but my CBC producer friend points out that he is also a great listener. 

(surprise, surprise, huh? next to mine, one of the best interviews with these guys I have seen.)

I'm very interested in communications, both visual and verbal. I studied a fair share of public speaking back in college, and I'm fascinated by speakers who can help us understand topics we might not ordinarily take time to investigate. I would include people like Ralph Nader, Tim Russert, and even Barack Obama in this category. In terms of other high-profile communicators, I saw Regis Philbin on a special for Rachel Ray the other day, and he can still command an audience (better than Ray). Alan Chartock of WAMC, the Albany, New York, NPR station is also someone I listen to intently- he breaks things down quite well. I would say that communications is an art in itself, and it's very interesting to me as someone who communicates as an interviewer, artist, and performer.
The producer gave me some links to check out, that expound on this idea.  TED, a nonprofit devoted to "Ideas Worth Spreading," shares mini talks on their website on a variety of subjects– he swears that I will find them all quite fascinating... especially the subjects I would seemingly have no interest in. There is also a website called 10 x 10, that shares 100 words and pictures over the past decade, that define the time– having a quick look, the design appears clear and effective... an interesting presentation.

There is still something captivating about radio though. I have become quite a fan of NPR since I moved out to the Hudson Valley, and I think I understand now why back in the day, people from my hometown would go out of their way to try and pick up the CBC signal. The Los Angeles Times presented a story last fall about how CBC Radio has been so successful over the years in appealing to the widest possible audience-- in English, French, and eight aboriginal languages, while still linking the entire country. That is surely something to be proud of, and I think we could learn quite a bit from our neighboring North Americans. Now that we can tune into radio from around the world, we can do just that, eh?  

Related Links:

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Tasty Designs

Yesterday I spent some time sketching in my sketchbook− something I haven't done nearly enough of lately. I put on Bombay Bicycle Club's latest album and just let my mind wander... it felt good. There was a purpose though− I was working out ideas for a logo for my independent business as a video producer/artist/all-around Renaissance man. It was something I have been considering for awhile, but finally embarked on after an assignment for my graphic design class.

©Jeremy Clowe. All rights reserved.
As I mentioned in a post last week, it was difficult to just jump into logo design on the computer, trying to navigate Illustrator and choose a suitable font. Sketching out some ideas felt more natural to me... I used to doodle all the time, and this was very much in that vein. Somewhere along the way you can get sort of hung up on everything being perfect, and I think that's where I have faced the biggest challenge to my natural instinct to draw.

Logos are sort of different. I could just relax, and not worry about anything being too perfect, clever, or final. It was good fun to just brainstorm... I just need to allow myself to do it− take time to do it. I only really went online to look up some ideas that had been used before for videographers and filmmakers, and on a couple sites dedicated to logos: had some fun stuff.

So I'm trying to play off the name Blue-Eyed Soul Productions− I guess that's my new "company name" (I was using jcloweproductions for awhile, but I'm not sure that's so original... only chosen because a lot of my friends had been calling me JClo-- you know, that's me... Jeremy on the block... yo). There were a few reasons to choose Blue-Eyed Soul... firstly because of my sparkling blue eyes (at least that's what my girl says), and second because it plays off the idea of soulful music and culture− sort of an attitude I aspire to... honest, deep, classic.

Careful about that foot-long deal...
Design by
Hey, speaking of class, I thought this logo parody was hilarious. I just found it last night. It's funny, because I was talking with my instructor at the end of class last week about how lame the Subway logo is. Yeah, I get it... the arrows... this way for subs, right... but there are better logo designs that actually make me hungry. I mean, I like Subway, but the logo is sort of like the food I guess− nothing really out of the ordinary.

Design by Louise Fili.
All rights reserved.
One of my classmates did a report the other week on the graphic designer Louise Fili, who does a lot of work for food companies. She brings sort of an old-fashioned (in a good way), Art Deco, Italian/French sensibility to her work. I don't remember eating any of the products displayed on her website, but because of her design, they all appear high quality and like they would be quite tasty.

The Mermaid Oyster Bar. Design by Louise Fili.
All rights reserved.
Chipotle poster design by Invisible Creature. rights reserved. 

Another example is the restaurant chain Chipotle. I have never stepped foot in one of these eateries, but a couple of their "farm to table" designs have been catching my eye lately. I think I would be inclined to stop in for a bite if I was in the area. Hey, if it works for Willie Nelson... 

It's funny what good design can do. Now if I can only make my work appear just as appetizing to clients and the general public...

Monday, February 20, 2012

Presidential Treatment

By George, it's Presidents Day! I have decided to "celebrate" by taking the day off to get some other work done. One item on the list is to look for a photographer for our wedding. I'm all about details, so the photographs that interest me most are those that can tell a complete story through even the most subtle expressions and composition.

One professional whose work I admire is Pete Souza, the official White House photographer. My stepfather sent me a link to this great slideshow of Souza's photographs documenting President Barack Obama during 2011.

President Barack Obama with Ruby Bridges in front of
Norman Rockwell's "The Problem We All Live With."
Official White House Photo by Pete Souza. All rights reserved.
For a President who has been criticized by some as being too distant or cool, these photos illustrate just the opposite (maybe it's the whole "introvert" challenge again). Through Souza's lens we receive a surprisingly intimate portrait of a man who comes across as a caring and involved leader. It can't be easy to capture such beautifully composed images in the life of such a busy person, but the photographer succeeds again and again--occasionally coming up with truly remarkable shots (the photo of the Obama family in front of the Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio is exceptional).

I have frequently utilized Souza's photos in the media design I have created for the Spoken Word Almanac Project. SWAP founder/poet Darian Dauchan is busy working on a one-man show about Obama's presidency (so far), and will be using several of the multimedia displays I have created during his performance. More details to come.

In the meantime, I'm looking forward to watching the new documentary on President Bill Clinton−another great leader of our time, despite his obvious flaws. Presented through the American Experience series, it premieres tonight on PBS:

Watch Clinton Chapter 1 on PBS. See more from American Experience.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Positive Expression

So the Spectrum Playhouse, where we have been performing with our improv troupe, is affiliated with an initiative called the Student Educational Development Fund (SEDF). A portion of all income generated from the Playhouse (including RBIT shows) actually benefits the not-for-profit, whose mission includes providing professional training in the creative arts for those with learning differences and autism. It's not only great to be back with the improv group, but to know that our work can support SEDF's efforts-- indeed, students and their families are free to drop-in on our rehearsals every week at the Playhouse to learn more about improv as a performing art. The organization has also opened a gallery space and cafe in town that helps out these students. This positive display of community building almost most makes me want to move back to Lee... almost.

I have a bit of a love-hate relationship with the Berkshires. It's a beautiful place, but can feel pretty isolated. What it does have are several unique cultural organizations that are doing good work, particularly for young people. Barrington Stage Company, for instance, has an intensive, six-month program for at-risk youth, where they use theater as an aid in helping students work out their issues, and build positive-self esteem. Participants in the Playwright Mentoring Program create original performances based on their own stories in a safe and confidential environment. I know the great value of the arts in learning how to express yourself, and so commend the organization for offering this outlet. I was honored to be asked to create a couple promotional videos for the program over the years. Here is the latest, from a couple years ago:

Saturday, February 18, 2012

our dance card is full!

Well, we didn't make it to the Dance Flurry Festival. Our first no-show for the annual event since I can remember. Too bad, but we had good reason to miss it, as the day was literally consumed with trying to finalize the design and order of our invitations, reply cards, and other printed materials for the wedding. Through this D.I.Y. endeavor we experienced a crash course in using graphics, advanced Photoshop applications, and creating for print (I tell you, this class is perfect timing). The printed materials have a nice overall design and color scheme, which feels good and was worth the effort.

The improv show went well last night. We had great feedback, including from another group of performers who had come to see us from out near the Boston area. I still can't believe we get paid to do this! Afterwards, the fun continued at our local karaoke pub, where I continued to perfect my rock star routine. So between improv and karaoke, I got my dance on well and good... I just hope Sarah and I can get back to taking some proper swing or ballroom lessons again soon.

Far from being a "Bridezilla," I enjoyed getting creative with Sarah this weekend-- she even joined us for our pre-show warm up last night. Here's some fun shots that she took during the show:

Friday, February 17, 2012

Dancing Machine

In just a couple hours we'll be doing the improv thing again at the Spectrum Playhouse in Lee, MA (show starts at 7:30 p.m.). Apparently the show is being presented as part of the week-long Cabin Fever Festival-- who knew? 

Speaking of shaking off those winter blues, I think I have been "officially" chosen as RBIT's resident dance artist. Fine by me... any chance I can get to get my dance on. There should be quite a bit of fancy footwork this weekend, as Sarah and I also plan on attending the Annual Dance Flurry Festival in Saratoga, New York. All genres of performance and participatory dance will be presented, and should give us a chance to work on some proper moves for the wedding... maybe a little capoeira?

To get ready, here's a vid passed on by the great Fitz & The Tantrums this week:

Dance = L.O.V. for you and me!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Make Your Partner Look Good

Damn. I'm back in the Berkshires. It's like the evening of creative logo designing was just a dream.

Oh well. The inspiration carries on... I had a productive night, and the wedding invitation is looking real good (with a couple helpful new design suggestions from my instructor). We should be ready to send them on to the printer this weekend... better not wait a second longer, because I think Sarah is getting stressed. Hey, "make your partner look good" is the motto of my improv group, and I take it to heart!

Photo by Sarah Edwards. All rights reserved.
Speaking of improv, RBIT has another performance tomorrow evening at the Spectrum Playhouse in Lee, MA, 7:30 p.m. Looking forward to getting my game on again. This weekend, back to helping the missus...

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Midnight Rambler

Had a nice time last night. Dinner at one of our favorite Indian restaurants, and home for a movie.

Owen Wilson and Marion Cotillard walking after midnight...
 ©Sony Pictures Home Entertainment Inc. All rights reserved.
I'm reminded how much I loved Midnight in Paris... it was just as good a second time. Over the past few years, I think Woody Allen has been making some of his best movies ever: Match Point, Vicky Christina Barcelona, and now this. All original, these have been some of the most refreshing movies to come out recently.. maybe all he needed to do was get out of New York City!

Midnight in Paris is up for an Academy Award this year for "best picture." I think it is absolutely deserving-- a perfect movie in my opinion. Great direction, cast, writing, cinematography (the "Monet" lilies were a nice touch), music, and, of course, concept. Give me a movie like this over the typical, short-attention span Hollywood fare any day-- I was thrilled that it did so well in the theaters. Like Adele is to music, this film was just as smart and thoughtful. I think moviegoers would do well to cut back on all the razzle dazzle, and learn how to breathe again.

This afternoon I took a walk during lunch. I needed to get away from the information overload from my computer, and the frustrating lack of information provided by others. There is a nice trail I sometimes take past the nearby river, and over an old walking bridge. Unfortunately, I did not end up in 1920s Paris, like Owen Wilson's character did in the movie...

Around dinner time, I did end up in downtown Troy, New York (with help from my auto). While it lacks many of the charms of "The City of Lights," the Collar City (and Home of Uncle Sam) does have its own character... not to mention, The Arts Center, where my current graphic design course is being held. In tonight's class we looked at logos. We first watched a video with the guy who created the logo for PBS back in the 1970s-- interesting to see all that went into making that (even if the "P Man" did look a little "scary" back in the day).

Then it was our turn. I decided to take a stab at creating a logo for my own independent production business. It is something I have been thinking about for awhile, in addition to websites, business cards, etc. It's called "branding," and now I can do something about it. I started by writing down some of the services I provide: videography, editing, photography, writing, and content development (emphasis on the latter). This informed what type font I will choose (did you notice that Woody Allen always uses the same font for the credits in his films? No frills). It also made me start to think of shapes... objects... perhaps turning the type into objects that could further communicate what I do. We imported into the projects into Illustrator, but I think I might be better served by jotting down some ideas on sketch paper first.

It was refreshing... I definitely felt in a different place than this afternoon... enjoying the creative process. All well and good until I tried to find my way home... eh, with its many one-way streets, Troy can be a difficult place to find your way out of! Next time I will use my GPS-- one of the better inventions to come along since the "Roaring '20s." But I do envy those who have the luxury of walking to and from work... and into creative new situations.

Related links:

"Decoding Woody Allen's 'Midnight in Paris,'" New York Times, May 27, 2011

Midnight in Paris (Music from the Motion Picture)

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Something happened + I'm head over heels

Happy Valentine's Day! It's my last as a "bachelor," but was well worth the wait. I think Sarah and I finally worked out the design for our wedding invitations, yet are still deciding on what "our song" will be for the big day. Funny enough, I always think of The Rolling Stones' "Under My Thumb" when I think of us... not because of the lyrics, but because it was one of the first songs we danced to when we met! Guess I better keep thinking.

Speaking of music, I was listening to the great radio show Sound Opinions as I drove home from improv rehearsal last night. The theme of the show was "first love songs," and it was an interesting topic for this "romantic." I totally agree with the choices of The Beatles' "I Want To Hold Your Hand" and Tommy James & The Shondells' "I Think We're Alone Now"-- the young '60s music obsessive in me (circa 10-12 years old) thought these songs were exactly what "love" should feel like... even though I had yet to experience. Both songs match soaring melodies with the building anticipation of the lyrics-- and that was just for the thrill of holding a girl's hand!

It took me a couple more years until I could truly put this musical research to the test. The funny thing is that I remember the "feeling" more than any one girl-- there were Heathers, Jennifers, and Lisas... they came fast and furious in those days. But there are songs from that time period that I can recall even more clearly, that still remind me of that mix of joy, emerging confidence, and butterflies in the stomach: 

It was the spring/summer of 1985, and I had my first real girlfriend: Heather. We had gotten to know each other in church confirmation class, and I remember having a tough time concentrating on my studies-- she was pretty cute. Towards the end of the class, I worked up the nerve to ask her to be my girlfriend (probably through a note)... and felt truly "blessed" when said YES! It was like a whole new world opened up to me. Around this time I loved The Cars, and their music perfectly matched that first summer of love vibe-- especially this song, "Magic." You might think I'm crazy, but I remember giddily riding my bike to her house (no car at that point) to watch the Live Aid concert, and seeing this band's performance was a "must."

The summer moved on, and so did Heather... she didn't age quite so well, but this next song sure did:

What a romantic song. I still love it (especially the  hilarious literal version of the video). The lyrics and melody for Tears for Fears' "Head Over Heels" were a perfect match for how I was feeling that summer... the young romantic in bloom, with new aspirations... 

Back in school I felt like a new man: had a few girls eyeing for my attention, and it felt like I had acquired some awesome new super powers (read too many comic books I think)! I always loved this song, "So In Love" by Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark (OMD for short). Again with the sweeping romantic melody... still sounds great. I had a chance to meet the band in Boston during their reunion concert tour last year, and was very happy to get the appropriately titled album Crush (which contained this and other great songs) signed by the band-- still one of my favorites. 

Then things got "serious"-- I upped my game and asked out a beautiful vision named Lisa... in my eyes she seemed kind of unattainable, but in reality I think she was just as shy as I was. Lucky for my ego she said "yes," and I was ready to start choosing names for our kids and matching linens. I'll always associate this Howard Jones song, "Like To Get To Know You Well" (and a handful of John Hughes movies) to her memory... 

Dreaming into action... seemingly on top of the world... a couple school dances later, and it was all over. Lisa decided to move on, and I experienced my first real "heartbreak." A little shaken, I retreated to my art and music, and tried writing some heartfelt sonnets (or letters) to win her over... but it was not meant to be. First love can be tough! Thank God I had these guys to get me through:

A-ha's debut album Hunting High and Low came along at exactly the right time. As I mentioned in a previous post, it was chock-full of melodies and lyrics that perfectly matched my feelings of coming into my own, with a little uncertainty blues mixed in. But to quote a line in their best known song "say after me, it's no better to be safe than sorry..."  Time to get my head out of the comic books!

So I soldiered on... there were many relationships to come... some hits, misses, and downright chart disasters. Yes, it took a fair share of thorns to get to the perfect rose (no Poison reference intended). But that first "new wave" of feelings is a nice memory to have-- perfectly preserved via a collection of 80s hits CDs!

Speaking of which, I heard this golden oldie on the radio yesterday:

"Alive and Kicking!" Reminds me of the time I won tickets to see Simple Minds in concert ('86 I believe), with my Dad acting as the chauffeur for me and my date (another Heather). I can still remember him checking us out in the car's rear view mirror... seeing if we were up to any funny business, I guess. Ha ha... I'm sure these are feelings I will also be experiencing one day.