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Holidays, Atlanta events, good times. 



Reticent by Gareth Botha


Well, December is upon us and there is a lot going on!

First of all, I have several announcements/upcoming events:
  • UNSENT LETTERS CD release - December 15th - On December 15th, I will release my debut album! It will be available here on the website for digital download for 5 dollars or you can order a physical copy for 7 dollars.
     
  • Unsent Letters CD release show at Smith's Olde Bar in the Atlanta Room - Friday, December 18th - 11:00 pm - 8 dollars - 21+ - Come out to Smith's Olde Bar where I will be playing a set and selling my CD (for just 5 dollars!). Come shoot some pool, drink some beer, and hear some music! I would absolutely love to see all of you there!
     
  • New Facebook Page - I have a new artist page on Facebook. So if you are on Facebook, be sure to become a fan for all of the updates, and suggest me to your friends!
     
  • Long Absent Friends shows - I am in a new band called Long Absent Friends, and we are playing our first shows ever coming up! We will be playing on December 27th at 10:00 pm at Smith's Olde Bar in the Atlanta Room and January 8th at 8:30 pm at Red Light Cafe. Come check it out! Especially if you are a fan of the Smashing Pumkins, Stars, Arcade Fire, and/or Broken Social Scene.
     
  • New links - Check out my links page for a couple of new things. For example, my brother, Kevin, has a new music blog which is pretty sweet.

THEATRE

December is a time for theatres to do Holiday shows! Actually, for a lot of theatres in Atlanta, a great portion of their ticket sales comes from these shows. (See this interesting article from Access Atlanta.) So make theatre part of your Holiday traditions!

Some of my favorites:
  • Atlanta Ballet's Nutcracker - December 11 - 27 - Nutcracker has always been a Holiday tradition for me, and I absolutely love this production. (And not just because I played a toy soldier in it when I was 12! Haha.) Combine the beautiful dancing with the gorgeous costumes and set and the imaginative coreography...not to mention Tchaikovsky's classic and beautiful score...and it's really hard to go wrong.
     
  • A Christmas Carol - The Alliance Theatre - Nov 27 - Dec 24 - What is Christmas without a little Dickens? Alliance has always done an excellent job of staging this Holiday classic, and it's really just a fun show.

     
  • Santaland Diaries by David Sedaris - Horizon Theatre - Nov 27- Jan 3 - I have a personal relationship with this hillarious holiday show about an out-of-work 30-something writer who takes a job as an elf at Macy's. Last year, when I was working as an apprentice at Horizon, I did my crew/volunteer hours on this show, and I ran the spotlight. Even though I saw the show literally 30 something times, it was still funny. So check it out!
For more Holiday show listings, check out Access Atlanta or Atlanta Performs.


STAGED READINGS

  • Turning Pastoral by Matthew Katis - Saturday, December 12th - 7:00 pm - Kennesaw State University - FREE - Come out to this staged reading of CMU grad student, Matthew Katis's, new play. 
     
  • Working Title Playwrights presents The Scrapbook: A Modern Christmas Carol by Raymond Fast - Monday, December 14th - 7:30 pm - Academy Theatre - "You can't buy happiness. Nice thought - until you're money's gone. Since Gary's heart attack, he and wife Micki have lost their business, home, and savings. Now Gary thinks their kids and grandkids would be happier not traveling across country to visit them for Christmas. Can the memories awakened by a scrapbook remind Gary that love has no price tag, needs no trappings, and is worth more than anything money can buy?"
Come help these playwrights develop their new works! Your feedback is the most important thing for playwrights!


MUSIC

Three shows that I'm hoping to catch!

Well, that's it for me. If there are any December events that you'd like to mention, be sure to leave a comment here on the blog so that all of my readers can hear about it. :-)

Stay tunes for my Top 10 Albums of 2009. I'm thinking of doing this in a podcast as opposed to a blog so I can actually play some tracks for you. :-)


To my fellow artists 




Photo by Beverly Crawford

There is always going to be someone somewhere who doesn't like your art. There's always going to be some asshole who says that all of your songs sound the same and they're bored out of their mind when listening to them. There's always going to be the poetry editor who calls your poems "trite" and "cliche" and "amateur." There's always going to be the film festival who doesn't accept your film. There's always going to be the director who doesn't want to cast you in the play because they don't like the way you performed that one scene. There's always going to be the people who scoff at your paintings and turn up their noses. For every single piece of art that you put out there, whether your a singer/songwriter playing a show for five people at a coffee shop or Steven Spielberg releasing a new blockbuster film, someone somewhere is going to think that it's shit. (I have even been this person before! I've definitely been harshly honest about art I haven't liked before. But I said those things only after giving a disclaimer that the artists should take my opinion with a grain of salt.) That's because all art is completely subjective.

And for those of us who haven't had a "breakthrough" yet, for those of us who are unknown by most people, there are going to be way more rejections and criticisms than there are selections and praise. The trick is getting rejected over and over and over again and not caring. The trick is to keep going, to keep creating art, to stay true to yourself and your vision, no matter what anyone might say. And at the end of the day, it doesn't matter if you're famous. It doesn't matter if that breakthrough moment ever comes. You do it because it's who you are. It's what you love to do. I can't say I've gotten there completely. Every now and then I'll get a criticism or rejection that still stings. But I could never, ever stop writing or playing music or creating, no matter what anyone thinks.

There are moments, though, that make it all worth it. Standing ovations, getting an acceptance letter for once, when one person tells you that your song helped them in a way that so many songs have helped you. And I just wanted to say that even if no one reads this silly little blog of mine, I think it's important. Because there are so many artists that have helped me and inspired me over the years. And not just big artists like Radiohead and Neil Labute and Morrissey and Stephen Chbosky, but local playwrights and actors and theatre groups, local bands and musicians, local painters and photographers. There have been many moments, here in Atlanta, sitting at open mic nights at coffee shops and bars, watching bands at The Earl or The Star Bar or the Red Light Cafe, looking at art on the walls in Octane, sitting in the audience at Actor's Express or the Horizon Theatre, moments when art has inspired, touched, moved me, changed my perspective. Many local, independent, and unknown artists have caused these moments for me--too many to even name.

And I just wanted to say that. If you are an artist of any kind, and you're reading this, and you ever have those bad days filled with rejection letters and criticisms just keep in mind that probably somewhere someone had one of those life-changing moment with your work. And don't stop making your art. Don't get discouraged. Because there is a place for it. And you are someone's Morrissey, whether or not you know it.

ART sharing - New play project - photo shoot with Belenen 


Suspension by Kelly McKernan
Watercolor and String
2009


I thought it'd be a good idea to start adding images that I like (art, photography, etc.) to my blog entries. It's another way to share art AND it makes my blogs more interesting/entertaining :-) Kelly McKernan is a local artist. I really love her work, and the above piece of her's is one of my favorites. Plus, she's designing the album cover for Unsent Letters (which I'm really excited about) so check out her website.

My website/blog is about a lot more than just promoting my art. I want to share other people's art with everyone, too, especially artists who are new, independent, local, etc. Artists of all mediums! Visual artists, musicians, filmmakers, poets, authors, playwrights, theatre groups, all of it. There is just so much great art out there, and a lot of it goes unnoticed sadly. I want to do my part to change that. Even if I just get 5 or 10 people to check out a new band, I think it's worth it. Because every day, I am immensely inspired, touched, motivated by great music, stories, images, art. I was just born to share, experience, and create art.

Speaking of art sharing, I have a new idea.

The Audio Play Project: I've had a thing for audio books lately. And one day I was thinking about how they should really do more audio book versions of plays. The best way to experience a play, obviously, is to see one. But I think hearing a play would be the next best thing. Almost like a recording of a staged reading, in a way. So. My idea is next year (2010) to record one full-length or longer one-act play a month and put it up in audio book/mp3 format for people to download on my website. Obviously, they wouldn't all be my plays. I'd probably have the first one and maybe the last one be mine, and in between it would be works by other local and/or unknown playwrights. I think it would be a good thing, though. New/unknown playwrights get exposure, the actors get voice over experience, and people get to hear new works! I think putting it in an mp3 format and making it free and available on the internet will give people who don't necessarily go see a lot of theatre the opportunity to experience new plays as well, and then maybe if they liked it, they'd get out there and see new works, too!

What do you guys think? Is this something you'd like to see in the future?

In other news, earlier this week I had a photo shoot with Belenen. I needed some new photos/portraits for my website, my various music press kits, and I wanted to put a photo of me somewhere on Unsent Letters (even though Kelly McKernan is designing the cover. I thought I could put it on the inside sleeve.) Typically, I'm ridiculously awkward in photos, but I thought these turned out great!! I couldn't be happier! Belenen just has a way of really capturing people the way that they are, and taking photos that are so bright, full of color, full of live! I feel like I look like myself in these. If that makes sense.

You can check out some of Belenen's photos on her Flickr page, here.

Here are some of the photos from the shoot. For the rest, check out my Photos/Videos page.



My music news and five Atlanta bands that everyone should check out! 

There is definitely a lot going on right now for me musically!

First of all, I posted five tracks from Unsent Letters on the music page along with lyrics. These tracks are "Excommunicated," "Flames," "Cyclone," "Wait," and "Irresponsible," and these are the newest versions of these songs, which will be on Unsent Letters, of course, which will be released here, Tuesday, December 15th. I have also put these tracks on my Myspace page and my Last FM page. (If I get more listeners on Last FM, I could possibly be played on their radio stations, so go listen to me there! And add me to your library, if you have a Last FM account. That would rock!)

Secondly, I will be back on Story with Amie Flanagan on KSU Owl Radio Monday, December 7th 10:00 - 11:00 am. I had so much fun the last time, and I'm excited to go back! Amie's show is very entertaining! I'll bring my guitar along and play some more live songs, so tune in!

Also, I am officially in a new band called Long Absent Friend. I am playing piano and singing in this project along with Michael Tillman, who is on guitar/backup vocals, Kyle Weiss on violin, Ben Hopper on bass, and Kyle Hilkin on drums. I really like the music we're playing so far. It sounds a little bit like Arcade Fire meets Broken Social Scene meets Smashing Pumpkins. We have a gig booked already, and we'll be playing our first show at the Red Light Cafe on Friday, January 8th, so stay tuned for updates and news on this project, including tracks, shows, and a myspace page.

I think there are really a lot of awesome things going on in the Atlanta music scene right now. I like to try to get out there and see local bands as much as I can, and I have found that there is a huge amount of talent in the Atlanta scene. Here are some of my favorite bands/musicians that I have seen playing around town. You guys should all visit their websites, check out their tunes, purchase their music or go see them play if you like what you hear. In my opinion, they all put on great shows.

Today the Moon, Tomorrow the Sun



Today the Moon, Tomorrow the Sun on Myspace

Today the Moon, Tomorrow the Sun is about the collaborative. It’s about the connections between sound and people. It’s about the heart and the head. It’s for mistakes and triumphs, and against arrogance and underconfidence. Today the Moon, Tomorrow the Sun is about sharing the ideas that are created by four friends in Atlanta, Georgia. It’s all for sharing much further than there, penniless or plentiful. - From their myspace page.


A Fight to the Death




A Fight to the Death website

Instead of the usual boring band bio, we’ll just tell you that A Fight to the Death is Avant-Western-Americana-Gypsy music built with Latin and Mediterranean rhythms, surf twang, and melodies fit for lonely midnight drives through the desert. - from their website



Billions and Billions



Billions and Billions on Myspace

We are committed to the progression of music. Most of our songs are written on the spot and we feel that is the way to keep improving our sound. Maybe it's a hit. Maybe it's a miss. But you can bet, whatever it is, it's going to be like nothing you've ever heard before. - from their myspace


Siberia My Sweet



Siberia My Sweet's Website

Siberia My Sweet is an Atlanta based project with a goal to expand the landscape for new wave alternative rock by combining ambient subtlety with a melodic, yet more abrasive, core than the current standard. Forging a harmonious blend of opposites, the music creates a unique beauty that combines both the hard with the soft. Formed in the fall of 2005 by vocalist Kelly Andrews, Siberia My Sweet saw the addition of Luci Harrell (guitar) in 2006 and Erin Sellers (keys) in 2008. Currently showcasing in the southeastern region, Siberia My Sweet is well on its way to making an impact that won’t go unnoticed. - from their myspace page


Sealions



Sealions Website

"This three piece has a lot of potential and I’m thrilled about the prospect of their first full length album dropping sometime this year." -Davy Minor on Ohmpark

In a bloggy mood... 



Photo by Beverly Crawford.

Yes, as in my mom took that photo. I really like her photography. It's mostly nature shots, but I think they're all really full of life. You might even see one of her photos on my poetry book cover, Coiled and Swallowed, when it comes out next summer or fall.

Well, it's autumn, and I'm listening to the Cockteau Twins, and I'm in a rather bloggy mood. That should be a new word. Bloggy.

Things have been going really well for me lately. I'm getting a lot done artistically, I'm being a pretty productive employee, I have been reading a lot more this year, exercising more, being a healthier person, and most importantly, I have the most supportive and awesome family and friends. Everyone in my life has really been there for me lately, even my friends who have moved to other states, and I really, really appreciate it. More than any of you probably know. I'm just really grateful. There's so much negativity on the internet these days (I'm definitely not excluded from that!), but I just wanted to take a second and say that I genuinely appreciate everyone in my life. Even if the contact we have seems insignificant. Even if it's just a facebook comment every now and then. I still really appreciate it. So many people have supported me, especially in my artistic efforts, and I really just wanted to say thank you. Thank you for coming to my shows, thank you for listening to my music or reading my poetry, thank you for coming to see my plays, thank you for reading my random blogs. Haha. Really. I can't even begin to express how much that means to me. And you're awesome.

Speaking of being positive, I made a bunch of "sampler CDs" to take with me to Pride this Saturday. I was planning on handing them out to promote my new CD. They have three tracks, "Excommunicated," "Cyclone," and "Wait," all of which will be on Unsent Letters. I decided it'd be cool if I decorated the CDs myself with sharpies. Different colored sharpies! Most of them just say "Sara Crawford" and list the names of the tracks, but on some of them I put random little positive messages like, "Thanks for supporting local music!" or "Sara Crawford (thinks you're awesome)" or "I love people who listen to new music! You just made my day!" I put all of the CDs in little (multicolored) sleeves with a little (multicolored) piece of paper that has printed information about my CD, so from the outside of the sleeve, you can't see what's written on the actual CD. I just know that if I picked up a CD from someone at a festival and got home and opened it up to a message like "Yeah! You're awesome!" it would definitely make me smile. So hopefully, I'll get to spread some love on Saturday. (But not in an obnoxious way? Haha.) I was thinking maybe some time next month, I'll make some more sampler CDs with happy messages and put them in random coffee shops and places around town where people will pick them up.

Anyway. That's all for tonight. Thanks for listening...er...reading, rather.

Songs listened to while I typed this:
1. Lorelei - Cocteau Twins
2. Dancing - Elisa
3. Morning Bell/Amnesiac - Radiohead
4. She's Got You High - Mumm-Ra
5. Soldier On - The Temper Trap
6. Light My Fire - The Doors

And you should listen, too:

KSU radio interview, my love for the Neil Labute and the New Moon soundtrack, daily Radiohead fix 

I had a really awesome time at KSU Owl Radio on Story with Amie Flanagan. It was kind of weird to be back on campus at KSU but not as a student. I actually parked in visitor parking, which made me feel odd. Or maybe "old" is a better word. Haha. Either way, I had a lot of fun on the show. We talked about Unsent Letters, my old bands, Painted and playwriting, how I hate it when people spell my name with an "h", other random things. I played "Cyclone" and "You Told Me" on air. Amie is a lot of fun, so everyone listen to her show! It comes on Mondays and Wednesdays at 10:00 am. She asked me if I wanted to come back sometime soon, so be on the lookout for that! Also, hopefully, I'll have a copy of the interview that I can put up here as a podcast file so you guys can listen if you didn't catch it yesterday.

Also, over the weekend, I went and saw This is How it Goes, a play by Neil Labute from Coup de Theatre Atlanta. It's a shame I waited until closing night to go see this play because I would have definitely recommended that everyone go check it out! It was just an excellent play. First of all, Neil Labute may be one of my favorite playwrights (The Shape of Things, Reasons to be Pretty). His plays are controversial, filled with unique structures and narratives, well constructed, and extremely thought-provoking. His characters are just so real and often extremely messed up. I really liked This is How it Goes for all of these reasons, but I think Coup de Theatre did an excellent job staging the brilliantly-written play. It was just well directed, well cast, well acted, well done. So good job, Coup de Theatre! This was the first show I've seen from them, and I'll definitely be checking out more as you all should, too. (PLUS, Radiohead playing at the beginning and/or end of a play or movie is always a great idea.)

Alright, I don't care what you Twilight-haters have to say, the Twilight Saga: New Moon soundtrack is out, and it is awesome. Highlights for me inclue Thom Yorke's mysterious "Hearing Damage," Lykke Li's poignant "Possibiliy", the sincere track, "Satellite Heart" by Anya Marina, "I Belong to You (New Moon Remix)" by Muse (which was also awesome on The Resistance, but I really like the remix), "Roslyn" by Bon Iver and St. Vincent whose voices blend perfectly together, and of course "Slow Life" by Grizzly Bear featuring Victoria Legrand (from Beach House). I was lucky enough to see Grizzly Bear and Beach House here in Atlanta a few weeks ago, and during Grizzly Bear's set, Victoria Legrand came back onstage to do "Slow Life" with them, which was an incredibly moving performance. So, there you go. We all know that the Twilight books are not going to be taught in literature classes in colleges or anything, and we all know Kristen Stewart is maybe the worst actress ever, but you just can't hate on a movie with that good of a soundtrack, people! (Even though it's not out yet.) (The Twilight books/movies are a bit of a guilty pleasure for me, though, I must admit and I'm very excited that this movie will combine my love for vampire books AND obscure indie bands. Who would have thought it?)

I've decided I should start posting more videos and photos in my blogs/on my website to make it more entertaining. I've had this song stuck in my head ever since they played it before This is How it Goes the other night. (Good choice, once again, Coup de Theatre!) So here is the "Song of the Day" I suppose.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E0NHCyVqFOc

Upcoming events - CD release show, KSU Radio interview, etc. 

First of all, I've had to push back the release of my debut solo album, Unsent Letters, but only by two weeks. And now, it coincides with the CD release show, too! So I have a lot of cool things coming up:

-Monday, October 26th - 10:00 AM - KSU Radio - I will be on Amie Flanagan's show on KSU Owl Radio, talking about my upcoming CD release and playing a few tunes. So tune in! You can listen at http://ksuradio.com

-Saturday, October 31st - Atlanta Pride - Planning on going out to Atlanta Pride during the day at Piedmont Park and being a "street musician" (street musician? park musician? pride musician?). I'll also be giving out some free sampler CDs so stop by and see me if you're there!

-Tuesday, December 15th - Album release - I will be releasing Unsent Letters, my first solo album, on my website. It will be 7 dollars, and you can either download it on the website or order a physical copy. It's only 5 dollars for people on my mailing list, though, so sign up for my mailing list at http://saracrawford.net

-Friday, December 18th - 11:00 PM - CD release show at Smith's Olde Bar in the Atlanta Room - 8 dollars - 21+ - I'll be playing a solo/acoustic set and selling copies of my CD! You also get the special price of 5 dollars if you buy a copy at the CD release show. 5 bucks! What a bargain!

Hope to see all of you at the show!

Poetry news, music news, Scent of Autumn mixy  

Lots of things going on right now!

First of all, Virgogray Press will be publishing my poetry chapbook, Coiled and Swallowed, in the summer or fall of 2010! I just found out about this last week, and I'm pretty stoked. They have some really great chapbooks so check them out!

Secondly, I'm hard at work on Unsent Letters (my album), and I will be releasing that here on December 1st. It will be available for download, or you can order a physical copy. I should be playing some sort of CD release show around that time, too. I'm not sure where that will be yet, but I will keep you posted.

Also, Novo Luna is no longer playing shows. We've all sort of gone our separate ways musically, I suppose. I will always be grateful for the time I spent singing with those guys, though, and I will never forget the songs! I really learned a lot singing with them, and I definitely had a blast. I definitely plan to support all of them in their future artistic projects as well.

In other news, my new unnamed musical project is quickly picking up speed. We have Michael Tillman on guitar/vocals, myself on keys/vocals, and now, Kyle Weisse on violin. We've jammed out with a couple of drummers, and we're still putting together the entire ensemble, but stay tuned! We should be out playing shows within the next few months. The first couple of shows may be just me, Michael, and Kyle, but we're planning on getting out there soon.

AND it's that time of year again! Autumn. Every autumn, I made a mix CD called "The Scent of Autumn." It's usually a mix of songs that feel nostalgic, songs you can drive around and feel reflective to, and songs that I happen to be particularly into that year. So here is this year's scent of autumn mixy!

Scent of Autumn
1. Under the Milky Way - The Church
2. Before it All Ends - Kent
3. Special Needs - Placebo
4. Heart of Chambers - Beach House
5. Possibly Maybe - Bjork
6. When No One Calls (It Will Be Alright) -  Starflyer 59
7. That Joke Isn't Funny Anymore - The Smiths
8. Master of None - Beach House
9. Soldier On - The Temper Trap
10. Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels) - The Arcade Fire
11. Bubble - Red House Painters
12. Shiva - The Antlers
13. Cheerleader - Grizzly Bear
14. No Surprises - String Quartet

So, in honor of the Scent of Autumn, and in light of my poetry news, I'll leave you with a poem from Coiled and Swallowed and a song from my Scent of Autumn mixy - 2009 edition.


Cement Steps

a poem by Sara Crawford

Sometimes I wish you would take me back
to that scene
where little girls jump on cement steps
and young men wear sunglasses,
blowing the smoke from their
personally-rolled cigarettes,
watching it swirl away
into the strategically placed trees,
and the wind blows
wrinkled, old pages
from the woman’s notebook.
She struggles to pick them up,
scared to lose the moments she preserved
before she picked up her cup of green tea
to take a sip.

I miss being light enough
to be scared of a breeze,
bracing myself on something
that’s weighed down,
occasionally letting go,
out of curious anxiety.

A mixy for the decade: Songs that define me from 2000 - 2009 

Today was one of the first days that it actually felt like autumn, and autumn is such a time of nostalgia and reflection, at least for me. I thought it’d be nice to do a reflective post about music I have loved over the past decade.

There was this note floating around on Facebook where you were supposed to name ten albums that you loved, one for each year of this decade (2000-2009). I really enjoyed reading my friends’ various choices. And then one night, Michael and I were sitting at Highlands, and we decided it would be fun to take this concept and make a mixy (“mixy” is my word for mix CD…incase you couldn’t figure that out) with one song from each album. But not just one song that you loved, but one song that defined the whole year for you, who you were, what you were doing, etc.

I had so much fun that I though I would write about my mixy. (Note: I did this not based on what albums came out that year, but what I was listening to. When I was a teenager, I wasn’t as up to date on what albums were coming out as I am now, and sometimes I wouldn’t find out about an album until a year or two after it came out.)

1. 2000 - “Indie Queen” by Marvelous 3 from HEY! Album (1998) – This song was my anthem. I was completely OBSESSED with Marvelous 3 from the ages of…I’d say 13 to 17. (And even now, at 24, I love to pop in HEY! Album, turn it up all the way, and dance around like an idiot.) In 2000, I was 14 for half of the year, 15 for the other half. I think every 15-year-old needs an anthem, a song that makes he or she go “THIS IS MY SONG! IT WAS WRITTEN SPECIFICALLY FOR ME! AND NO ONE ELSE GETS IT!” This was completely that for me. And even though Butch Walker was probably singing about something WAY different than a slightly artistic/dorky/eccentric 15-year-old suburban white girl, I will forever think he’s singing to me when he says, “How do you feel about that? How do you like it when they touch your face and turn the page and make you feel like a waste of space?”

2. 2001 - “Maybe Someday” by The Cure from Bloodflowers (2000) – I remember when I was in 10th grade, I had this really cool English teacher who wore all black and often mentioned bands like The Cure and The Smiths that I had heard of but had never really listened to, aside from “Asleep” by The Smiths, which was mentioned in my favorite book, The Perks of Being a Wallflower. One day, I was I watching MTV (back when they played music), taping some music videos on my VCR, and a commercial came on for The Cure’s new album, Bloodflowers. They played a snippet of “Maybe Someday” on the commercial. I kept rewinding the tape to watch it over and over, until I could get someone to take me to Media Play to grab a copy. I was completely in awe when I listened to it. The album sounded like who I was that year, 16, overly emotional, learning about love and loss for the first time (really), finding my place…I was in love. This is one of those albums that I always go back to, time and time again, and it always makes me feel like I’m 16, discovering it for the first time. And yet, each time I listen to it, it has something new to tell me.

3. 2002 - “In Repair” by Our Lady Peace from
Spiritual Machines (2001) – So, I was 16 and 17 in 2002 and starting to feel a little upset that certain people I had crushes on (or…crazy obsessions with, either way) thought I was way too intense and emotional. I took refuge in CCT, a theatre group that was beginning to become like a family to me, and my friendship with Amanda. The two of us would just drive around endlessly in my Malibu. One day, we were driving, and she showed me this album, Spiritual Machines. I remember all of the countless times I drove down Sewell Mill Road to West Side Story rehearsals, blasting this album, with my windows rolled down. Just as my friendship with Amanda and my various experiences with CCT made me feel like it was okay to be who I was, intense and emotional and all, this album made me feel exactly the same way. It’s the kind of album that takes you somewhere, that tells a story. And Raine Maida has such an unconventional, unique voice. It really grabbed me. This album was a mix of great songwriting, passion, and solid’ rock music with a unique twist. I can still go back to it, particularly this track, “In Repair,” and it always makes me feel better.

4. 2003 – “Kevlar Soul” by Kent from Hagnesta Hill (2000) – I discovered Kent at Music Midtown in 1999 when my friend Kyndal and I were walking around, and they played “If You Were Here.” Kyndal grabbed me and said, “Wait! I know this song!” and we stuck around to listen to them. It turned out, they were actually awesome. I bought Isola, their first English album. Then, randomly, in 2003, I searched online to see what they were up to and I discovered they had made another English album. I ordered it immediately, and as soon as I played it, I was completely giddy. I listened to this album over and over and over, completely obsessed over it. This song in particular sticks out in my head, though, because I remember driving around with Kayesha in Atlanta, listening to it, happy I could share this obscure Swedish band with someone, and we’d sing together, “I have time on my side/Making diamonds of coal/She put a hole, through my kevlar soul.”

5. 2004 – “The World is Full of Crashing Bores” by Morrissey from You Are the Quarry (2004) My knowledge of Morrissey consisted of listening to “Asleep” by The Smiths because it was mentioned in The Perks of Being a Wallflower, and the couple of times I had heard their self-titled album in Adam’s car, but I never paid much attention. When You Are the Quarry came out, though, Adam bought a copy, and he was listening to it when Kayesha and I were in the car. I remember when “I Have Forgiven Jesus” came on, I could hardly breathe. I rushed out and got a copy the next day. I listened to this album over and over and over, every single song. This is the album that started the Morrissey obsession, particularly this song, which became another one of my anthems. Because even when I was having super emotional, !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!, “no one understands me” days, Morrissey was always there for me, singing “This world, I am afraid is designed for crashing bores/I am not one, I am not one, you don’t understand, you don’t understand/And yet you can take me in your arms and love me, love me.” This is one of the reasons I have a Morrissey tattoo with the lyrics, “Don’t forget the songs that made you cry/And the songs that saved your life.” And I will never, ever forget the first moment I fell in love with You Are the Quarry.

6. 2005 – “Wake Up” by Arcade Fire from Funeral (2004)– 2005 was sort of a tough year for me, full of transitions. I was having a seriously hard time adjusting to the changes that life was bringing. Nothing else better summed this up than Funeral, particularly “Wake Up.” Even now, I get a little choked up every time I hear vocalist Win Butler sing, “If the children don't grow up,/our bodies get bigger but our hearts get torn up./We're just a million little gods causin' rain storms turnin' every good thing to rust./I guess we'll just have to adjust.” (And oh my God, now it’s in the Where the Wild Things Are trailer and I seriously almost cry every time I see it. Nostalgia and childhood and one of my favorite childhood books AND this song? It’s too much!) (But in a good way!)

7. 2006 – “Dragonfly” by My Brightest Diamond from Bring Me the Workhorse (2006) – 2006 was probably one of the best years of my life. I turned 21, had amazing times hanging out with some completely amazing people. And when two of my old friends from high school died, I realized how important it was to let people know that you appreciate them. I reconnected with my old high school friends because of this, and out of tragedy, we all grew closer. Some amazing things happened to me that year though. I started taking my English major classes at KSU, including classes with my favorite professors, I was in a really great writing group, I started a new, amazing relationship, and I started writing Painted towards the end of the year. This song, for me, really represents that whole year. My friend, Lauryn, showed me this album, and that was another I-can’t-breathe-this-is-so-good moment. Between Shara Worden’s completely breathtakingly flawless voice and the interesting almost orchestral music underneath her, I was almost in shock. I played Bring Me the Workhorse nonstop. And this song is very symbolic for me. It’s a song about recognizing the risks involved in loving and doing it anyway. It’s song about being “afraid of flying” but doing it anyway.

8. 2007 – “Bodysnatchers” by Radiohead from In Rainbows (2007) – OHMYGODRADIOHEAD. Okay, first of all, I had been waiting for a new Radiohead album for what seemed like forever. And soon, they announced that they were essentially giving it away for free on their website. I think I paid 5 bucks (better than nothing!) and this was another album that I was completely in love with from the moment that I listened to it. At first, I would have told you that “Bodysnatchers” was fun but not my favorite track on the album, but after a few listens, I became completely obsessed. I remember one night just sitting in my room writing almost an essay in my journal on how In Rainbows was an album that took you on a “personal journey” (which led to Darcie’s obsession with that phrase in my short play “The Economist”), and I think this track “Bodysnatchers,” is the track where I realized that it was, indeed, a personal journey. It’s the moment where the song completely changes and takes you somewhere you had no idea you were going, when Thom York sings “Has the light gone out for you?/Because the light's gone for me.” And then somehow, it builds and builds and builds and spits you right back out where you were. OH THE BRILLIANCE! This is also relevant to 2007 because basically the entire year of 2007 was centered around Painted. I started working on the play late 2006, and I continued working on it, revising and editing, having a small reading in February(ish), having my formal staged reading in June, and of course producing the play in late September/early October. (God, I can’t believe that was two years ago.) Painted was very much a personal journey for me, and right when the play was over, In Rainbows came out. It all felt very symbolic. One personal journey to another. Theatre to music and then somehow back to theatre and back to music and literature and it’s all just one huge cycle of art and life and love and “personal journeys” for me.

9. 2008 – “Open Book” by Ed Harcourt from
Strangers (2005) – 2008 was a difficult year for me for many reasons. I graduated from college in May, it was a time of huge transitions, a lot of my really close friends had moved across the country or were in the process of moving, lots of relationship drama. One of the things that really got me through this year was my discovery of Ed Harcourt, particularly this album, Strangers. Another “personal journey” album, I remember driving around listening to the haunting piano and heartbreaking vocals/lyrics on this track, “Open Book,” over and over. And I sang along with him, “As children make their way to class/I sit and raise another glass/Cause you don’t dwell much on the past when it keeps haunting you…Well my life keeps on spinnin’/It’s this drunken procession/I can’t learn my lessons.” In feeling heartbroken, nostalgic, and grief, the only thing that makes me feel better is a song that expresses all of those things and makes me realize that even though I’m immersed in all of those emotions, so is someone else. And Ed Harcourt gets it, which makes me feel connected to him, and then it turns out, we’re not isolated. We’re all connected through art and the human experience. It’s like “The Waste Land.”

10. 2009 – “40 Day Dream” by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros from Up from Below (2009) – On a much happier note, 2009 has been a much happier year, and that’s why I picked this song/album for 2009. First of all, I love the album because the whole thing is like a dream, a story. It’s completely crazy. Parts of it will make you think you’re in the 1960s, parts of it will make you feel the way a really good shoegaze album makes you feel, parts of it will make you think you’re in a Western, parts of it will make you think you might be listening to a less cult-y version of the Polyphonic Spree. And while there have been a lot of albums that I feel in love with in 2009, I remember popping in Up from Below, and “40 Day Dream” came on, and within seconds, I was grinning from cheek to cheek. I love that giddy feeling you get the first time you listen to a really great CD that you know is going to make you happy for a very long time, and that’s how I felt the very first time I listened to this song. “I been sleepin for 60 days and/Nobody better pinch me/Bitch I swear I’ll go crazy/She got jumper cable lips/She got sunset on her breath now/I inhaled just a little bit /Now I got no fear of death.”

So, there are my ten albums/songs that define me from 2000 to 2009. How about you? What are your's?

Muuuuuussssiiiic! 

Thanks to everyone who came out to the Novo Luna show at Cool Beans on Saturday! We definitely all had a lot of fun playing :)

A lot of stuff going on for me musically right now!

First of all, I'm hard at work at my solo/acoustic album, Unsent Letters, which will be available for download on the website and/or to order physical copies on December 1, 2009. I'm taking my sweet time with it, really. I'm really excited about it, though, because I've had all of these songs just sort of floating around for four or five years, and I've done some simple acoustic demos, but it will be really good to get the best of these songs (in my opinion) all on one cohesive CD. 

In addition to my solo work, I'm continuing to play shows with Novo Luna, and we are also working on an EP, which should be released sometime soon. And, I've started up a new project with Michael Tillman. We're trying to bring a shoegaze/post-rock/alternative band to the Atlanta music scene, i.e. Sigur Ros, Slowdive, Smashing Pumpkins, Stars, Broken Social Scene, Hammock, etc. We've written several songs, and we're currently looking for a drummer. (And we'll be looking for a bass player shortly after that.) If you'd like to hear a sample, I've got three songs that we've written together on my website at the New Music Project page. (Also, if you know any drummers and/or bass players who are into that sort of music, send them my way!)

And I have a few upcomming shows as well:
  • September 24th - 10:00 pm - Solo show at Smith's Olde Bar in the Atlanta Room - Atlanta, GA - 5 dollars - 21+
  • October 10th - 7:30 pm - Novo Luna show at Cool Beans - Atlanta, GA - FREE - all ages
Other than that, I've been floating around town trying to check out new Open Mic nights so I can meet some new musicians, hear some new songs, share my songs. You know, lovely, exciting, musical nights of sharing and awesomeness. Haha. And of course, I like to promote other people's art on this website, so if you have any shows coming up in the metro Atlanta area or have any tracks I can post on here and share with people, let me know! And here are a few albums that I've been obsessing over lately. You should definitely check them out!
What have you been listening to?

Just because summer is winding down doesn't mean there aren't cool things to do! 

Well, summer is winding down, students are all going back to school, and I'm taking advantage of the fact that I deferred my graduate school admission until next year and using the time to work on my various artistic projects! (Oh, and to save money. Which is sort of essential to the whole grad school plan anyway.) I have a lot going on right now! First of all, I have another solo/acoustic show at Smith's Olde Bar in the Atlanta Room on Thursday, September 24th at 10:00 pm. (Special thanks to everyone who came out to my last show!) Also, I'm hard at work on my acoustic/solo album, which I'm hoping to release in mid-November. In other news, I'm still singing with Novo Luna, and we're hoping to play live in the next month or so and release our EP. Stay tuned for info on that! And, Michael Tillman and I have started a new musical project. We're in the process of recording our songs before we start the search for a bass player and a drummer, so be on the look out for a lot of new music, new projects, and shows coming up!

And just because summer is coming to a close does not mean that there aren't a lot of awesome things going on! Did you miss out on those summer music festivals? If so, don't worry. There are lots of cool music festivals/events coming up in Atlanta that you can check out! I'm definitely going to try to get out to most of these shows. And they're all free or at least pretty cheap!
  • NOPHEST Summer Music Festival - August 28-30 at Wonderroot - 982 Memorial Drive - Atlanta, GA - featuring 20+ Atlanta bands! - Tickets are $5 per day or $10 for a weekend pass. For more info, visit http://nophest.blogspot.com/
  • Grant Park Summer Shade Festival - August 29-30 in Grant Park - For the performance schedule, go here
  • Little Five Points Other Sound Festival - September 19th in Little Five Points - Featuring multiple bands on multiple stages, at the Star Bar, an outdoors Little Five Points stage, and Criminal Records - For performance schedule, go here
  • And, this one's not exactly a festival, but it's still kickass and FREE - Atlanta Guardian Showcase Night at the Star Bar - August 27th - Featuring Abby GoGo, Ghostfinger, Cockfight, and Small Reactions - For more, info visit Atlanta Guardian
But don't think I forgot about you theatre folks. Here are some really cool plays that I'm excited to check out in the upcoming months:
  • Grey Gardens - Actor's Express - 8/27 through 10/10 - Actor's Express is pleased to bring you the Atlanta Premiere of Grey Gardens, the hit Broadway musical based on the acclaimed film that documents the lives of Jacqueline Kennedy-Onassis’ flamboyantly eccentric aunt Edith Bouvier Beale and her daughter “Little Edie.” Mother and daughter cling to each other through hysteria, happiness and heartbreak as the beautiful home around them falls into ruin. Indulge in the lush music, mysterious glamour and “The Revolutionary Costume for Today” inside the dilapidated, 28-room mansion called Grey Gardens. For more information, visit Actor's Express.
  • Hair - 7 Stages - 9/11 - 10/10 - The American Tribal Love Rock Musical - Because who really doesn't love hippies dancing and singing? For more information, visit 7 Stages.
  • The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged) - The New American Shakespeare Tavern - 8/8 - 9/6 - I saw this last year, and it's absolutley hillarious, especially for us Shakespeare geeks. For more information, visit The New American Shakespeare Tavern.
  • Pippin - Cobb Children's Theatre at the Cobb Civic Center - August 21 - 23 - I had to throw this one in because when I was in high school, I did quite a few shows with CCT, and I don't think my life would be the same now if I hadn't. CCT is really a great organization, and they do so much good for the community. I really believe that putting high school kids in a theatrical production like this is a great thing to do for society. It gave us a sense of community, family, and taught us an incredible amount about theatre, art, and life, and CCT continues to do that for teenagers today. Pippin is their Summer Stock production, featuring high school and college students. (And for those of you OTPers who don't like to drive ITP, you can still see theatre!) For more information, visit CCT.
  • Third by Wendy Wasserstein - Horizon Theatre - 9/11 through 10/11 - The final play of Horizon's 25th Season from celebrated, award-winning playwright Wendy Wasserstein (The Heidi Chronicles). A liberal college professor and an articulate and conservative student jock nick-named Third face off over politics, ethics, and values. A bold accusation and mid-life changes unexpectedly throw Laurie Jameson�s well-ordered world into disarray. With her trademark smart dialogue, crackling wit, and intelligence, Wasserstein looks at the challenge of re-imagining ourselves in the third act of life. For more information, visit Horizon Theatre.
And here are a couple of other cool events coming up:
  • MIXT - Mint Gallery - 684 John Wesley Dobbs Ave, Unit B - Atlanta, GA - August 22 - 8:00 - 11:00 - The 3rd annual mixtape exhibit featuring work from numerous Atlanta artists including Bean Summer, Jason Kofke, Kelly McKernan, Chris Hamer, GutterPOP, Jason Travis, Sergio Garzon, Travis Thatcher, and more. Each artist will create a mixtape to be played alongside their artwork. Come and enjoy the music and have a drink. Visit MINT gallery.
  • Atlanta Underground Film Festival - Various venues around town - August 26 - 30 - For schedule and more information, visit Atlanta Underground Film Festival
So, there you go. Lots of cool things coming up! Music events, theatre events, various artistic events. Free things, cheap things, even an OTP event. So stop being lame, and get out and support some local artists! We always appreciate it.

Do you have any events you'd like me to check out? Calls for submissions? Anything? Send me an e-mail at events@saracrawford.net

July events: Theatre, music, and more! 

There are a lot of awesome things happening in July, and I wanted to share them with you!

First of all, I have a couple of events going on. On Wednesday, July 29th, I will be playing an acoustic set at Smith's Olde Bar (1578 Piedmont Ave NE, Atlanta, GA) in the Atlanta Room (downstairs) at 8:00 pm. This is part of the Songsmith’s Songwriter Showcase, and it's a 21+ show. The cover is only five dollars. This is my first acoustic show in over a year so come out to hear the old songs, some new songs, and a wacky cover or two.

Also, I will be participating in the 24-hour Plays which will be showing on Sunday, July 26th at 8:00 pm at The Academy Theatre (21 N Avondale Plz, Avondale Estates, GA). On Saturday, July 25, 2009, 16 writers will meet at 10pm at The Academy Theatre. Paired randomly, they will have until dawn to come up with eight 12-minute scripts. Eight directors come in at 9am and cast their plays from sixty headshots submitted by our brave thespians. Then it’s a marathon day of rehearsing, staging, costuming, and setting tech for an 8:00 p.m. curtain on Sunday, July 26th. The show ends at 10pm, exactly 24 hours after the writers first convened! This is a fundraiser for the Working Title Playwrights, and I will be one of the writers in this madness so come out and see!

Here are some other great events coming up that you should check out:

Music
  • Benefit for PASTE Magazine, Friday, July 10, 8:00 pm at The Earl, 488 Flat Shoals Ave, East Atlanta, GA featuring A Fight to the Death, Nicholas (from YOU), Attractive Eighties Women, Richard Parsons
  • Atlanta Guardian Showcase at the Star Bar (FREE SHOW) Thursday, July 23rd 8:00 pm. Featuring Today the Moon, Tomorrow the Sun, The Middle Men, Brain Box, and Tasty Beverage. These shows are always a lot of fun, and the bands are really great. Plus, it's FREE.
  • GoGirls Showcase at Uptown Loft 9700 Medlock Bridge Road John's Creek (Duluth area) Friday July 10th. 8pm - featuring Cornerstone, Green bracelet, Electricsoul, and Cell Fehrenbach!
Music/Film
  • Tripple Indie Night: Two bands and a film! Wednesday, July 8th 7:30 pm at The Strand, 117 North Park Square, Marietta, GA. Triple Feature Indie Night: Misfortune 500 (Band) @ 7:30 PM; Nowhere In Africa (Oscar-Winning Flick: A German Jewish refugee family moves to and adjusts to a farm life in 1930’s Kenya) @ 8 PM; Thy Mighty Contract (Headlining Band). Doors open at 7 PM. Ages 18+. Tickets are $8 in advance. $10 at the door. Strand Box Office: 770.293.0080 or www.EarlSmithStrand.org.
  • Tripple Indie Night: Two bands and a film! Wednesday, July 22nd 7:30 pm at The Strand, 117 North Park Square, Marietta, GA. Triple Feature Indie Night: Tealights (Band) @ 7:30 PM; Food, Inc. (film) @ 8 PM; A Fight to the Death (Headlining Band). Doors open at 7 PM. Ages 18+. Tickets are $8 in advance. $10 at the door. Strand Box Office: 770.293.0080 or www.EarlSmithStrand.org

Theatre
  • The Essential Theatre Power Plays: Food for Fish, a play by Adam Szymkowic; Jim Crow and the Rhythm Darlings, a play by Vynnie Mel; and Ice Glen, a play by Joan Ackermann. Check out these great new works at Actor's Express. For more information please visit http://www.essentialtheatre.com
  • Measure for Measure (FREE PLAY!) July 10th and 11th at 8:00 PM Seney Stovall Chapel, 201 North Milledge Avenue, Athens, GA. Classic City Arts brings you a FREE production of Measure for Measure. Check it out!
  • A Cool Drink of Water, a play by Thomas W. Jones II, July 10 - August 23 at Horizon Theatre. Hopes and dreams brew as a family searches for their “cool drink a water” in this provocative and contemporary twist on A Raisin in the Sun. Newly “retired” from his good job, Walt is dreaming new schemes. Wife Ruthie’s nest is almost empty, but wannabe rapper son Trane won’t move out and get a job. And Benita and Asa move back from Africa with baggage and secrets. Is that Mama Lee haunting the house? A powerful and funny update to a classic story. For ticket information, see Horizon Theatre.
Visual Arts
  • Big Tuna at Alcove Arts Gallery - July 10th - 7:00 pm at Alcove Arts Gallery, 2852 East College Avenue, Decatur, GA. A tribute to the genius of DAVID LYNCH. Featuring new work from nearly 30 nationally reknown & emerging artists under the influence of this artist's work: Chet Zar, Amy Botello, Dan May, Leslie Ditto, Danni Shinya Luo, Aaron Nather, Silvia Ortiz, Aunia Kahn, Aeron Alfrey, Brian Colin, Bryan Cunningham, Patrick “Star 27” Deignan, Dave MacDowell, Ashley Surber, Apricot Mantle, Mark Henderson, Cory Benhatzel, Joe Peery, Justin Kauffmann, James Burns, Macsorro, Matt Sesow, Kelly McKernan, Shaun Thurston, Brent Houzenga, and H.C. Warner ...to name a few.
A Call to Artists
  • Our House in a non-profit agency that helps women find childcare and support as they try to work their way off from Welfare. They are looking for some Atlanta artists to donate some artwork (such as paintings, sculpture, handmade jewelry) that they can use to sell in our Silent Auction called Fall Fantasy. Fall Fantasy will be held at the Callanwolde Fine Arts Center on October 24, 2009, this year. The event will feature a silent and live auction along with dinner and dancing. As in the past, all proceeds will be used to support Our House programming.

    If you're interested in submitting art for this, please contact Marie McMenamin at mccannon17@yahoo.com.

That's it for July. If you are interested in these events, you can find more information and helpful links on my Calendar page. Again, if you have any recommendations or announcements you'd like me to post on here (or in the Atlanta Bohemians group on Facebook).

I'm really looking forward to all of the great artistic events going on in the Atlanta area in July!

Sexism in music 

Why is it that bands who have female vocalists are bands with a "token chick singer" while bands who have male vocalists are just regular bands? Why is it that in music reviews, (male) critics can talk purely about the quality of a band's music and performance if they have all male members, but if a band has a female member, often times the critic MUST make a comment on the attractiveness of said member, irregardless of her musical abilities? Why is it that some males don't want to listen to bands with female vocalists (even the ones who try to be "heavier" and thus "more masculine") because they think that it's "gay" or it will make them look like "pussies"? And why is it that women who bring up these issues are just being "bitches" who get "offended" too easily?

Thoughts?

Fun weekend of music: Free show at Star Bar on Thursday, Corndogarama on Saturday and Sunday! 

In case you haven't heard, Atlanta Guardian is hosting a free night of awesome music this Thursday, June 25th at The Star Bar! Lindsey Appel, A Fight to the Death, Royal Bangs, and Adron will all be playing. Here's a little info on these bands:

Atlanta Guardian is thrilled to be able to fly Adron in from New York to her hometown to give you all an unforgettable performance. She only plays with her full band in Atlanta once every six months so don't forget to catch her all-star cast including Mario and Tommy from the Selmanaires plus Chris Case (Samadha, Cadillac Jones) at what's sure to be one of the best concerts all year.

According to Spin magazine, the best band at Bonnaroo '08 was Royal Bangs. Originally from Knoxville, they've been touring the country all summer. This is an amazing chance to see one of the best emerging bands in the country.

If you've never seen A Fight to the Death play live, imagine being on a haunted carnival ride in an old west saloon. If you can't visualize that, you should just come to the show. One of Atlanta's favorite bands, they get their audiences moving every time.

Lindsey Appel is an up and coming singer / songwriter. She was voted best singer/songwriter in Atlanta in 2008. She will be starting off this incredible night of music, so make sure to get their on time!


Also, this weekend is CORNDOGARAMA in East Atlanta! Corndogarama is a two-day Atlanta music festival that will include things like tricycle races, BEER, stunts, MUSIC, eating contest (of course) and tons of other totally entertaining human tricks. You can check out the schedule here. There are several bands that I'm really excited to check out and lots of bands that I'm excited to see for a second or third time!

I feel like there is just a lot going on right now in the Atlanta music scene, and I'm so excited to be a part of it in whatever way that I can! Whether it's playing a couple of acoustic tunes at Eddie's Attic open mic night or singing with Novo Luna at the Red Light Cafe, rockin' out to Attractive Eighties Women or A Fight to the Death at The Earl or the Star Bar, checking out upcoming and new bands at these great venues, or hanging out with the guys at Atlanta Guardian. Right now is a very exciting time in music, especially in Atlanta. I think everyone should go out and support new, independent, and local music. There is some really great talent out there! (And we all know you can't really rely on MTV or mainstream radio to find new, good music anymore.)

In the meantime, I'm busy recording my acoustic album. Tomorrow, I'm working on the title track, "Unsent Letters." I'm really very excited about this. These songs have all been with me for three to five years, and it's really time to put them all on a cohesive album. I'll feel really great about it when it's finished. It's going to be simple, raw. Just me and my guitar, maybe some percussion, piano, and harmonies. We'll see.

Anyway, let me know if there are any shows coming up that you'd like me to mention on here! I always love to support new music. Oh and sign up for my mailing list to stay up-to-date!

Sara