Category Archives: Music

Here’s what I like to hear.

Velvet Biker Jacket

I love the look of a classic biker jacket–you know, like James Dean or Marlon Brando used to wear. I recently went to an exhibit at Experience Music Project about the rock ‘n’ roll aspect of this style of jacket. I was blown away at how versatile this iconic piece is. Everyone from Joan Jett to Michael Jackson has been seen in the “antihero’s anti-sportcoat.”

album collage

The motorcycle jacket can be hardcore punk or art piece. What started as protective gear and became associated with outlaws and rebellion is now a fashion statement.

jacket collage

I’ve sworn off leather, and I do have a few faux leather jackets, but I also like the idea of reworking a classic in new ways. So when I saw this velvet version I snapped it up.

velvet jacket

khaki, orange and brown

Jacket: Forever 21
Tank top: Target
Sweater: Target
Jeans: Just USA
Shoes: Consignment

Black is the classic color, but I really liked the brown. Next up: hot pink! I’d like a biker jacket in a thick cotton knit or even denim! There are so many options. You can wear them with jeans or a dress and they’re always in style.


Do you have a biker jacket?

I’m joining Visible Monday and Monday Bloom today. Check out what everyone else is wearing!


Filed under Ethical, Fashion, Music

The Dee Dees and Hell’s Belles at Neumos

Last weekend I went to a show at a club in Seattle called Neumos. It’s a great venue with a constant lineup of excellent musicians. The show I saw was no exception.

My friend Kirsten was in the Dee Dees, an all-female Ramones cover band.

Kirsten rocking out

They were great! The Dee Dees got the crowd hopping and singing along to familiar songs like 53rd and 3rd, Beat on the Brat, and I Wanna Be Sedated.

The Dee Dee's

Dee Dees

I loved it! I sang along, and I was really impressed with all the musicians in the band, the energy they brought to the club, and the response from the audience.

lead singer

the bassist

The second band, Hell’s Belles, is a local favorite. I’d seen them before and I know they have a big following in Seattle. They’re an all female AC/DC tribute band and even Angus Young knows of them!

Hell's Belles

Thy didn’t disappoint. They’re tight, talented, and have a stage presence that will keep an audience engaged. The songs they covered included Thunderstruck, Problem Child, and Back in Black. The lead singer pointed the mic at audience members on occasion so they could join in and sing the lyrics.

Hell's Belles

She also prove to be multitalented, at one point singing into a hand-held mic while autographing a poster to a guy in the front row.

rhythm guitarist

There have been a few members rotate through Hell’s Belles but the lead guitarist is a constant. She delivers an impressive and energetic performance and work the crowd. She spends every moment running around the stage, head banging and flinging her blonde dreads around, and giving everyone their money’s worth. Not to mention she has mad guitar skills!

lead guitarist

If you ever have a chance to see the Dee Dees or Hell’s Belles, don’t pass it up. You’ll be in for a very rock ‘n’ roll good time!


Filed under Events, Feminism, Music

Nirvana: Taking Punk to the Masses

I thought the anniversary of Kurt Cobain’s death would be a good time to share my photos from the Nirvana exhibit I recently saw at EMP (Experience Music Project). It’s technically April 6th now, but when I woke up it was the 5th–my day isn’t over yet. I’ve been listening to the band today, and these images bring extra meaning to the music.

Rolling Stone magazine

In the early 90s, the grunge scene exploded and put Seattle on the map. Even back in Canada, at the University of Waterloo, I’d heard about all the great bands coming out of the Pacific Northwest: Alice in Chains, Screaming Trees, Melvins, Mudhoney, Soundgarden, Pearl Jam, and of course, Nirvana.

Spin magazine

In this era of Facebook, Twitter, and texting, it’s east to forget that getting the word out there was more grassroots in the 90s. Here’s a collage of handmade concert posters to show the way it used to be done.

concert posters

Looking at the exhibit was a total experience. The whole time I was there I heard seemingly random notes pinging and popping over the sound system. Then I read that I was listening to “a quadrophonic serial deconstruction of the signature two-bar riff from Come as You Are.” Loved it! It didn’t sound like rock music, but it paralleled the deconstructed exhibit.

I looked at videos and mementos, sound equipment and instruments, and reminisced on the Seattle Scene (as grunge music was often called).


The life-sized, black and white photos of Kurt Cobain, Krist Novoselic, and Dave Grohl seemed frozen in time.


It was a bittersweet event. For me, the energy of the movement was lost and it seemed like a mournful event, not a celebration. These guys belong on a stage, not a museum. But I’m glad I saw it. The exhibit ends soon so go if you have a chance. It’s a good way to relive your youth or get a glimpse into a scene you may have missed.


Filed under Events, Music

Hendrix Hits London at the EMP

I recently paid a visit to Seattle’s Experience Music Project, a music-themed museum housed in a Frank Gehry structure near the Space Needle. One of the current exhibits is called Hear My Train a Comin’ and features clothing, instruments and artifacts that Hendrix and his band owned and used in London in 1967 as they were gaining popularity in the UK.

union jack

Hendrix is arguably the best guitarist in history, so I often forget what a style influencer he was too. He also broke color barriers and turned heads wherever he went. He would be 70 years old this year.


In the late ’60s, the London Scene was the place to be and much of youth culture originated there. Mods, rockers, dandies, folkies, and jazz-heads. It seemed London had it all.

magazine covers

Hendrix changed his name from Jimmy to Jimi when he landed in London. He was fortunate enough to find the music scene and jam with musical influencers like The Animals and Cream. After holding auditions, he joined forces with bassist Noel Redding and drummer Mitch Mitchell. The Jimi Hendrix Experience began.

Mitchell and Hendrix

Several of Hendrix’s outfits were on display at EMP. I was wowed with his custom, tailored jackets by Dandie Fashions. Why can’t men dress like this today? Add some color, pattern, and textures into your wardrobes guys!

floral jacket

velvet jacket

map jacket

This jacket was part of a suit, but Hendrix chose to wear the pieces separately. Good move! If you have a suit, the best way to freshen it up is to break it apart.

striped jacket

I never was a fan of destroying musical instruments–although it’s a very rock ‘n’ roll thing to do. But seeing the remains of Jimi’s guitars gave me an appreciation for them as art on their own.

guitar fragment

Some of the instruments made it back to the US unscathed.

drums, amp, and bass

jacket and drums

I liked seeing who influenced Hendrix. Everyone from Ravi Shankar to Johnny Cash, apparently.

albums from the endrix collection

The exhibit is still on and I highly recommend it.


Filed under Art, Events, Fashion, Music

D&G Giraffe Pants

I can’t believe I’m wearing Dolce & Gabbana giraffe-print pants! Never expected to own a pair until I found these at Second Time Around Consignment in Boston. Yes, I’m still showing off my haul from the Boston trip Donna and I took in June. I hit the consignment store jackpot.

giraffe pants

These retail for about $600 (if you compare them to similar styles on the D&G website), but I got them for $40. The best part, and probably the reason I’ll never part with them, is that on the inside of the waistband is a label that reads “Kimberly Gordon.” It’s completely separate from the D&G label. Could these have once belonged to Sonic Youth bassist Kim Gordon?


Probably not, but I like to think that they were, and that she put the name tag in them so that when the dry cleaning and laundry was done on the road, all the items could be redistributed to their rightful owners. (Although, I don’t think anyone would get confused and think these were Thurson Moore’s!)

green and brown

If anyone can confirm this, let me know. They’re a probably a size 2. Is Kim? Oh, that brings me to the only problem with the pants. I’m not a size 2. So I did what any brand-loving cheapskate would do. I bought one of those belly bands that pregnant women wear to get more use out of their pants before they have to switch to maternity wear. I have no shame. I keep the pants unzipped, layer on the smoothing belly band, and then throw on a shirt. It works! Try it after Thanksgiving dinner.

So now you know my secret. Would you go this far for a cool item?

animal print pants

I’m participating in Thrifters Anonymous and Visible Monday. Check out those sites to see what others are wearing.


Filed under Fashion, Music, Thrifty

Dining at The Pink Door

I love restaurants with atmosphere. The Pink Door in downtown Seattle has it. If you’re in the Pike place Market area and want to relax and people watch, make a reservation for dinner.

jazz trio

The restaurant is tucked away in Post Alley. The door is a much paler pink that you’d expect from a place that named itself after the door. When you walk in, you’ll descend a flight of stairs as you overlook the dimly lit restaurant. In the second half of the space, you’ll see a door to a patio with great views of Puget Sound. The bar and a stage also occupy the back half of the restaurant. So be sure to sit up close if you want to catch the cabaret show or a jazz band.


I visited The Pink Door recently with friends. There’s something for everyone. The food is Italian-American. I had champagne and a delicious veggie pasta dish tossed with olive oil and pine nuts, but carnivores will love the meaty menu items. The desserts are decadent too.

It’s not a quiet place; it’s hopping, and relatively loud (the live Jazz was a welcome source of noise though). It’s a romantic as you want it to be, but if you’re not on a date, you won’t feel out of place.

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Filed under General, Music

Thrifty Thursday: Neutrals and Tights

It’s May, and I hope this is the last time I wear tights until fall. I love winter clothes, but I’m happy to retiring them for a while. It’s been a long winter.

This outfit was a test to see if I could use a skirt that I picked up at a clothing exchange. It’s an odd color (or lack thereof) and I thought wearing it bare-legged might see like I was not wearing anything! So I added tights and boots in a contrasting color.

I’m not all about matching, but I was happy that the vegan purse I bought in Canada on a trip to visit family last year matched the skirt nicely. I call the color oatmeal (because it sounds better than beige).

skirt and boots

Top: Old Navy ($10)
Skirt: Swapped ($0)
Tights: Roots Canada ($12)
Boots: Thrifted ($8)
Bag: Shiraleah ($38)
Necklace: Imani ($22)

red wall

I added my Imani necklace for a bit of color in this otherwise neutral outfit. The necklace is made out of recycled magazines by Ugandan women. You can read more about them on the Imani site and on my blog post about Imani.

Because this outfit was put together on the cheap, I didn’t feel guilty at all heading to Silver Platters to buy a few used CDs. I picked up Franz Ferdinand, Cyndi Lauper, New Order, and Annie Lennox. I can’t be the only one who buys CDs more often than downloads songs, can I?


Filed under Fashion, Music, Thrifty

Florence + The Machine

It’s possible I’ve been living under a rock for the past two years.  Florence Welsh has been on the music scene since 2007 and released her first album over two years ago. However, I didn’t know about her until she was on Saturday Night Live in November 2010. I have some catching up to do.Florence and the Machine: Between Two Lungs on

Florence + The Machine was nominated for a Best New Artist Grammy for this year’s Grammy’s. The new part of that award title makes me feel a little less bad for my under-rock living. For mainstream America, she’s new.

Florence Welch is an original, but I can’t help comparing her sound to Annie Lennox—maybe it’s the redhead Brit coolness thing, but I do think there are similarities between the two artists. I sometimes think of Kate Bush when I hear Welch sing.

I finally bought the CD Lungs. I can’t get Dog Days Are Over out of my head. It’s a really catchy song and showcases Welch’s amazing voice. The instruments are great too. Percussions, strings, some sort of mandolin-type instrument. Or maybe it’s a harp. Hey, I’m not a music writer! I just know what I like—even if I don’t have the words to explain why or what.

Between Two Lungs is a slower, hypnotic song but it’s also catchy. It also includes a unique assortment of percussion instruments. Welsh has a voice that carries the song. She could put out an a cappella album and you’d never miss the instruments.

All the tracks on the CD are great. It’s brilliant stuff! Check it out. It will take your breath away.

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Filed under Music

Enjoy the Silence

For the second time in a week I’ve used a song title as my blog title. I find it fitting. It is National Poetry Month, and lyrics are poetry. Enjoy the Silence is a song by Depeche Mode. Listen to it when you have time.


Silence is important today because it’s the Day of Silence. DOS is a student-led event that raises awareness about anti-LGBT name-calling, bullying and harassment in schools. Students take some type of vow of silence to encourage schools and classmates to address the problem of anti-LGBT behavior. It’s sponsored by the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network. Students across the country are participating as  way to “speak out” against harassment in schools and communities and show the silencing effect of harassment.

I learned about the event through a colleague, whose son created two great videos about what his school, Interlake High School in Seattle, is doing to draw attention to DOS.

You can see the first video here and the second one here.

Raising awareness about bullying isn’t trivial. The suicide rates for bullied kids is high. LGBT kids are even more at risk—their suicide rates are four times higher than that of straight kids, according to the video.

Are you a student or educator participating in DOS? If not, consider organizing an event for next year.

If you see or hear hatred in any form, speak up. Or, just for today, be silent for a portion of your day to let others know about the DOS. What will you do today?

Enjoy the Silence
by Depeche Mode

Words like violence break the silence
Come crashing in into my little world
Painful to me, pierce right through me
Can’t you understand, oh my little girl?

All I ever wanted, all I ever needed
Is here in my arms
Words are very unnecessary
They can only do harm

Words are spoken to be broken
Feelings are intense, words are trivial
Pleasures remain, so does their pain
Words are meaningless and forgettable

All I ever wanted, all I ever needed
Is here in my arms
Words are very unnecessary
They can only do harm

All I ever wanted, all I ever needed
Is here in my arms
Words are very unnecessary
They can only do harm

All I ever wanted, all I ever needed
Is here in my arms
Words are very unnecessary
They can only do harm

Enjoy the silence, enjoy the silence
Enjoy the silence

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Filed under General, Music

Karen J. Whitehead Talks about Her Film

Last month I wrote about an incredible photographer: Jini Dellaccio. In my post, I mentioned that someone is making a documentary about her life. Well that someone is Karen J. Whitehead. I sat down recently to ask Karen, the producer/director of the film, a few questions. (Be sure to and follow her production blog.)

(c) Five Star Films 2011

(c) Five Star Films 2011

Jean: How did you first learn about Jini Dellaccio?

Karen: A friend of a friend got in touch after coming across Jini’s photographs online – thinking (quite rightly) she would make a great subject for a film.

Jean: When did you approach her about a documentary and how did she feel about the idea?

Karen: I started doing some research for myself about the Northwest music scene in the 1960s, and Jini’s story, in the fall of 2009. After several conversations with the Jini Dellaccio Collection, which oversees Jini’s archive, I arranged a research trip to meet them and Jini in January 2010.

We spent several hours together, and as I listened to Jini describing some of her life experiences and passion for art and music, I was captivated and at the same time staggered that the world does not know who Jini is!

Jini was thrilled that I was interested in her life and artistry. We really made a strong connection, and I think she was immediately open to the idea of doing a film because I wanted it to be very much an intimate oral history. By that, I mean in her own words, (no narrator or scripted scenes), as she remembers the many decades of her creative journey and her personal background, with recollections of some of the musicians she photographed. From this, I felt the film could be a fascinating exploration of her relationship with her subjects as well as her fine art photography and how it is all underpinned by the importance of music and art in her life.

Jean: What parts of Jini’s life are you focusing on and how did you choose them?

Karen: A central part of the film is of course, behind the scenes of Jini’s rock ‘n’ roll photography in the 1960s. She was responsible for capturing the frenetic energy of live concerts by The Who, The Rolling Stones, Mitch Ryder, Mamas & Papas to name just a few – and she was doing this years ahead of Annie Leibovitz. But really the heart of the story is how Jini got to be shooting the Godfathers of garage punk rock (The Wailers/The Sonics) and other great Northwest bands like The Daily Flash and Merrilee Rush and the Turnabouts – in her middle age! Plus the tales from her Neil Young shoot and all the great concert photography she did with her beloved Hasselblad camera.

But it is also much more than that – I really wanted to craft a film that explores Jini’s creativity and determination. I think her life story from humble beginnings to jazz musician in the 1930s to her discovery of art and then self-taught photography is really inspiring. Especially when you consider she was often going against the grain, and conventional roles for the time. She was always in a man’s world, but not afraid to experiment, and be out there, in pursuit of her art. So, to give the audience an insight into this, I have Jini and other photographers, as well as the subjects of her lens, commenting on her work and I show her “at work” still in her 90s taking on a new challenge – digital technology, and shooting a new generation of rock bands coming out of Seattle’s vibrant music scene – The Moondoggies. When you see Jini working with The Moondoggies, almost 50 years from her first rock band shoot, I think you get the measure of Jini’s accomplishments and her legacy.

Jean: When creating documentaries, are there storylines that “write themselves” (unexpected narratives) or do you shape the film’s development?

Karen: That is a very good question! And the short answer is yes and no – or a bit of both!  Documentary is often about revealing unexpected narratives and in this case, I really felt that the rich cultural history behind Jini’s personal (mostly untold and unknown) journey as an artist would appeal to audiences. But of course, for audiences to really “connect” with your subject matter, you have to give them some compelling visuals and a simple rule but a golden one: good story telling, to keep them engaged. That is where the crafting of the narrative structure comes in. So, although there is no formal script as such – we build the filming around Jini’s  recollections and what she reveals about her motivations and life experiences. It is a collaborative process really – what you discover along the way may take you in different directions than you were expecting or planning – but it is important to have a structure like a road map so you don’t get lost in the edit!

Jean: What’s the most surprising thing you learned in the making of this film?

Karen: Some things Jini told me from her Jazz days in the 1930s were incredible, but I don’t want to reveal all the cool stories in the film here. Lets just say there are some “crackers” as us Brits like to put it!

Also – sideline, Seattle really does have some of the best coffee in the world…I am a definite fan!

Jean: Anything else you want to share?

Karen: Here’s something to think about:

“Storytellers broaden our minds: engage, provoke, inspire, and ultimately, connect us.” —Robert Redford

So, let’s make sure stories like Jini’s are not “lost.” Unfortunately, indie arts films like this are hard to make because we have fewer places to go for funding than other film projects. In the current dismal climate for arts funding, with threats to vital lifelines like the National Endowment for The Arts, it is increasingly up to individuals to engage not merely as an audience – viewing a finished product, but as a participator much earlier on in the process.

I want Jini’s artistic excellence, creativity and innovation to be shared with the world and that is why I put my passion and resources into this project. Although I was able to complete all essential filming with Jini, for the film to be complete – which includes editing and the specialised scanning and treatment of Jini’s vintage stills from the archive, the production is seeking funding from donors, industry sources and fellow believers in arts projects as a necessity not a luxury. Hopefully with support from Seattle’s vibrant arts community this film will be heading to the big screen soon.

Jean: You’re having a fundraising event in Seattle. When is it, and how can people attend?

Karen: The fundraiser event and world premiere screening of the extended trailer, followed by Q & A with the production team, and film contributors (Jini guest of honor) will take place at our fiscal sponsor Northwest Film Forum on Saturday, March 12th at 4pm. A limited number of seats are still open to the general public on a first come first serve basis – just RSVP the production team for your official invite at:


I want to thank Karen for taking time out of her busy filmmaking schedule to answer my questions. If you want more information about contributing to the fundraising efforts, attending the premier screening, or anything else related to the film, feel free to drop me a line at

For more information, check out:

The Production Blog
The Five Star Films Corporate website

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Filed under Art, Feminism, Film, Music