Browsing Category

Arts & Entertainment

Arts & Entertainment

Podcasts I’m Loving Right Now

May 15, 2016

It all stared with a few too many trips back and forth to NJ. I got bored while driving, which in turn made me pay less attention. As a matter of public safety, I started listening to Harry Potter on audiobook instead of music. And while the limit does not exist on how often I can listen to HP, I did start to branch out – looking for something else to listen to that was engaging but not always having the time to invest in a whole book. I started asking around about podcasts, and naturally Serial was the first one I listened to.

Since then, podcasts are the #1 thing that I play when driving anywhere further than 10 minutes and I’m always on the hunt for new ones to subscribe to. If you haven’t joined the proverbial bandwagon, podcasts are basically recorded radio shows that are available for free on iTunes / the interwebs. Very accessible, on pretty much any topic under the sun, and new content delivered regularly. Shae and I have both discussed podcasts before, regarding commuting and work travel, but haven’t really talked about which ones.

So what do I listen to? Here’s just a couple of the podcasts I’m loving right now, but I’m always looking for new ones.

1431927688977

RuPaul: What’s The Tee? With Michelle Visage: If you didn’t see this one making this list, we obviously aren’t friends yet. Listening to Ru and Michelle banter is like having lunch with old friends who happen to invite really interesting famous people to join, like Marc Jacobs and Ross Matthews.  They discuss everything from eyebrow pencils to self-esteem, and I love every minute.

cover170x170

 

Monocle 24: The Entrepreneurs: A podcast that highlights different companies and their Entrepreneurs, like Shark Tank for your ears. The fact that their UK based and therefore there’s lots of fun accents certainly doesn’t hurt either.

mposter1_web

Missing Maura Murray: For fans of True Crime shows, the Missing Maura Murray podcast is by Tim Pilleri and Lance Reenstierna about an active missing persons case they are making a documentary about. Maura Murray was a college student who, following a series of unfortunate events, crashed her car in rural New Hampshire in 2004. By the time the police arrived at the scene, she was gone and hasn’t been seen since. The story has so many details and is fascinating, but the fact that the case is still open can also be infuriating.

logo-v5

 

This American Life: If you’re already into podcasts, this is an obvious answer. But I just started listening (no idea what  I was waiting for) and it really is as good as everyone says. Each week there is a theme, and you hear different people’s stories around that theme. Great choices and interesting people make for a great hour of listening.

cover170x170-1

Being Boss: My new obsession is creative / boss lady / entrepreneur podcasts – I have 3 or 4 more in my feed that I haven’t started yet. But this one I already love. After it was recommended to me at the last Lady Boss event by Heart and Dash, I haven’t stopped listening and recommending it to any lady boss (or creative man boss or any boss really) that crosses my path. The interview with Brené Brown changed my life. Seriously. (Episode #42. Go. Now.)

 

What podcasts are you into? Leave ’em in the comments so I can keep adding to my feed!

Arts & Entertainment

What to Watch: The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

April 23, 2016

The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt is a Netflix-original series currently in its second season. The series follows Kimmy Schmidt, played by Ellie Kemper, who has just been rescued after spending the past 15 years of her life in a cult living underground, completely disconnected from society. She decides to move to New York upon her rescuing and the show follows Kimmy as she navigates big city-life with an eighth grade education. Kimmy rents a room in an apartment from Titus, a roadway star-on-the-rise, who is able to help Kimmy reacclimate to society. Kimmy gets a job working as a nanny for Jacquline Voorhies (Jane Krakowski), a rich New York socialite, who also plays an important role in Kimmy settling into 21st Century life.

kimmy schmidt adult
Created by Tina Fey and Richard Carlock, the show is truly a combed with a heart. At first, the show feels like another great comedy but I quickly found myself attached to the characters. Kimmy’s genuine optimism is refreshing and the people around her, although at first not knowing how to approach it, learn as much from Kimmy as she does from them. The show is incredibly funny and, although the over-arching plot isn’t super realistic (which deterred me from watching the show for a long time), the way Kimmy handles the transition into big-city life/adulthood/living with cell phones is hilarious and believable.

unbreakable kimmy schmidt is this a macintosh

The show is unpredictable and is unlike anything I’ve seen. Kimmy’s quirky and dated pop-culture references coupled with a lack of understanding of technology and 21st Century life make for a naïve yet likable character (she tries really hard). Although a bit disconnected, as the show progresses we see a genuine heart who is capable of giving really good advice. Honestly, I kinda wish I could call Kimmy when I’m down because despite spending her formative years underground, she is incredibly insightful.

hashbrown no filter kimmy schmidt

Some favorite guest appearances of mine include those by comedy greats Tina Fey, Martin Short, John Hamm, Fred Armisen, Amy Sedaris, and Richard Kind. In the second season, Kimmy is a bit more comfortable with herself and her new adult life but is still a bit clueless. Those who are already fans of The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt will enjoy the shows progression and the characters’ growth.

kimmy schmidt survive

kimmy schmidt i survived

Check out the trailers for seasons 1 & 2 (depending on whether you’re brand new to the show or if you haven’t gotten started on the new season yet).

Season two aired earlier this month and, so far, is up to par with what I expect from the show. Both seasons are available to watch(/binge) on Netflix and the series has been renewed for a third season. As always, let me know thoughts below!

kimmy schmidt make waffles

Arts & Entertainment

Shimmy, Shimmer, Pop! – An Interview with Citrine

April 15, 2016

Last weekend, we were fortunate enough to spend a day with Baltimore-based band Citrine (read all about our day here). Citrine, founded in 2015, features Kelci Smith on vocals and synth, Galen Smith on guitar, and Beau Cole on drums. Throughout our day, we were able to chat with Citrine about how they’ve musically progressed and grown and how important embracing the local scene here in Baltimore has been for them and their success.

April, the band’s EP set to release April 22nd, was a DIY effort that has truly embraced community and could not have been successful without the help of many friends of the band. Beau Cole describes it as “standing on the shoulders of giants” and states “it would be a disservice and dishonest not to incorporate the people that have the talents that they have”. The band salutes Devlin Moore of Colorless who helped with their art direction—album art, logo, creating the Citrine website, band photography, and editing their EP videos, and Mickey Freeland, who mixed and produced April, as two people who were absolutely instrumental in the success in creating their EP. Citrine also points to various friends—photographers, videographers, and folks who just wanted to be involved in helping them achieve this final product. Having friends within the Baltimore community give so much for the EP was not only a testament to the members of Citrine as local artists, but also the sense of community that resides within the city of Baltimore. Beau goes as far as saying that “the only way that we really could be genuine was to incorporate other aspects of our personal lives” into this product, which as Kelci describes, was successful because it is “resourceful and scrappy” in nature. Their EP videos were filmed in one weekend in an old Baltimore warehouse cafeteria and was truly a DIY effort that would not have been possible without the friends of the band and the local community.

citrine_2016_april-ep_kelci-smith_02_960x1440

A reflection of the city they are based out of, Citrine’s April is an investment from Baltimore into Baltimore. Where Kindlewood, Kelci & Galen’s previous band, never fully incorporated with their native DC, Citrine is counting on the feedback and support of their neighbors, as Galen puts it “we’ve got people that are local, that are pouring their gifts and talents into helping us realize, this vision that we have… it’s going to make for a great story, it’s going to make for buy-in from everybody that’s around… and really help solidify our foundation.”

“I will be the first to admit that with Kindlewood, I really wanted to not be the band that got stuck in the local scene,” says Galen. But with Citrine the group has come to rely upon and truly embrace the resources available to them through the talent in the local community. Kelci shares that she is excited about the local involvement from not just a business perspective but a personal one as well. “Even again beyond necessity,” she says, “I think it is just really awesome to incorporate people, other people that are doing other kinds of creative things… I think Baltimore has so many great resources and so many great people doing so many cool things, and I just want to keep that.” Having others pour their gifts and talents into Citrine and April creates buy-in from the ground up and helps solidify a positive foundation of invested fans. Citrine’s dedication to Baltimore is genuine, and their commitment to empowering the local community is part of what fuels this city.

citrine_2016_april-ep_galen-smith_02_960x1440

The band values the ability to be able to evaluate and analyze at a local level, trying out their new material here in Baltimore to determine if something is worth fleshing out or recording, rather than testing the waters in a larger venue and run the risk of no one showing up, something they said would happen during previous projects. “We’ve got an opportunity where people have invested interest in what we’re doing, they’re excited about what we’re doing, we’ve been able to bounce ideas off of them, formulate something of value, versus it just being like ‘okay, we’ve done this thing, now the world better listen up because here we come’,” says Galen.

Although there were some challenges, both Kindlewood and Lands & Peoples, one of Beau’s previous projects, saw success. We talked at length about the implications of leaving a project when the artist feels finished with it, even if the project is seeing success and developing a significant fan base. At their height, Kindlewood had a broad following, spanning the country (with some international fans as well) and Lands & Peoples had been in talks with some big names in the music industry, most notably the publicist for the National. When Galen and Kelci were moving away from Kindlewood as a project, they discussed the idea of keeping their name. “We had this platform, and we could’ve built on that platform if we’d kept the name and shifted things,” said Galen, “but keeping the name it didn’t make sense for what we’re doing”. In continuing to talk about the difficult decision to start over and create Citrine, Kelci describes her realization that the band wasn’t “precious”, even though she was treating it as such and that she needed to follow her heart instead. “So many bands are in so many bands before they actually make something happen”, states Kelci, reflecting on other musicians who have found success from something other than their first project. The change was necessary from the band as they grew as people. Although a tough decision, it seems to have been a necessary one in Citrine becoming what it is—and the direction it is heading.

When asked for their elevator pitch (that infuriating yet necessary evil of business,) Citrine uses dream pop to frame up their sound, but with more modern, beat driven elements—using descriptors like “shimmery,” “slightly abstract,” something that “visually, might call soft shapes to mind” and jokingly, “Volkswagen commercial.” The idea of creating “an environment in which the song lives, that the listener is a part of” is the goal of April, says Beau.

citrine_2016_april-ep_beau-cole_02_960x1440

April includes two songs off of an unreleased Kindlewood album that have been completely reworked. The band identified these two songs, “Drum and a Drop” and “Decimal Point” as the best “transition” pieces because they carried true weight and substance (and of course could be reworked to fit Citrine’s dream-pop sound. Galen told us that “it was important for us to find something that actually carried meaning for us. Whether or not it carried meaning for anybody else, carried some type of message for us”. “Decimal Point”, “Drum and a Drop” and the third song on their EP, “This Fabric” seems to do just that. Beau describes it as a “bolder choice. A more in your face choice,” and we could not agree more. The EP is a brilliant showcase of their past, present, and future. A sampling of where they have come from and where they intend to go, both sonically and lyrically, where the sky is the limit—April is truly the prelude to a full album that is to come.  So what do the months leading up to a full album look like for Citrine? Kelci replies, “Prepping…a lot of practicing, late nights, a lot of silliness, a lot of pizza, a lot of Chipotle.” Beau seconds, “A lot of pizza, slightly more Chipotle.”

Citrine has been crafting and perfecting their EP for the better part of a year. While the music is all done and mixed, the past few months have been crucial. Citrine has been putting final touches on their EP and have slowly been releasing their EP videos. While you are waiting for April, check out the video of ‘Drum and a Drop’, the first of Citrine’s EP videos that they released back in March.

April, Citrine’s first EP, is set to release on April 22nd. April was filmed and recorded live in Baltimore, MD. Citrine will be hosting a public show & EP release party at Ottobar on April 24th

citrine-april_ep-1800x1800

web | facebook | instagram | twitter

photography & album art by Colorless

Arts & Entertainment

A ’90s Hip Hop Primer

March 23, 2016

I have been a ’90s hip hop fan since I first listened to A Tribe Called Quest when I was in high school. I went through my stepdad’s CD collection and downloaded them into my iTunes library. There was a lot of eclectic music I got from him (from Ace of Bass to B.B. King to Rage Against the Machine to the Grateful Dead) but A Tribe Called Quest stood out to me. Prior to that, I knew hip hop as what was played on MTV in the early 2000s—Petey Pablo and Sisqo and yeah. Not that it was bad, but I couldn’t find any sort of message. I loved that Tribe told stories in their songs and actually spoke to a greater message. And of course, having grown up in Queens, NY, I loved that they too were from Queens.

IMG_0570

From there, I immersed myself in other ’90s hip hop (the usuals—Wu Tang, 2Pac, Biggie—but also some not-so usuals) and then branched out to conscious hip hop movement and from there, I started listening to most hip hop and able to appreciate music across the genre. This exploration I went through in high school has informed my music tastes to this day and I will always appreciate the intricacies of hip hop.

This, for some my age, might be a strange way to navigate hip hop but it is what worked for me. In light of today’s news of the passing of Phife Dawg (of A Tribe Called Quest), I’ve created a ’90s hip hop primer—a playlist that highlights the best hip hop of the ’90s. Whether the decade is new to you, the genre, or both, give it a listen. And if you’re already a ’90s hip hop fan, I’m hoping you’ll enjoy it too.

IMG_0574

Okay, white girl. You’re thinking. Should I really trust your judgement of ’90s hip hop? I understand the skepticism. You don’t have to trust me. I always get weird looks when someone catches me singing along to a De La Soul song or when I partake in dialogue about hip hop. I can’t make you listen to me, but what I will say is that I’ve enjoyed this music for about a decade now. Not that it makes me any more or less legit, but you have to admit that’s a long time. If anything, trust me because you like my playlists ;).

Give it a listen below or go ahead and follow the playlist on Spotify. The playlist is, admittedly, a bit ATCQ heavy (again to commemorate the life of Phife) but also features many other greats of the decade.

music and album art is not property of 30th & Weldon and direct you to the artists for rights.
IMG_0571

You on point, Phife? 

Outfit details: Dress – Urban Outfitters | Jacket – Mavi Jeans | Shoes – BCBGeneration | Backpack – Marc by Marc Jacobs | Hat – New Era | Sunglasses – Urban Outfitters | Lipstick – Stila

Arts & Entertainment

Good New Music: January 2016

February 1, 2016

Happy February! I can’t believe January came and went. It’s been a pretty eventful month already—the Earth lost a few iconic people, we got hit with a huge blizzard (east coast only), and Donald Trump refused to attend the most recent Republican debate held by Fox. January also brought us some good new music that I’ve recently been reflecting on. After I reviewed the 101 Best Albums of 2015, I realized how much good music comes out over a year. It’s a shame to save all of the good new music listening until the end of the year and so I’m going to try to present some of my favorite new music each month in the form of a playlist (titled, of course, Good New Music: January 2016).

January has already proved that 2016 will be a great year for music—and Kanye’s highly anticipated album WAVES [fka SWISH, fka So Help Me God] hasn’t even come out yet. I’ve been waiting all month for Sia’s This is Acting and have already listened to it 5 times in the few days it has been out, David Bowie left us Blackstar (which is the perfect blend of David Bowie & 2016), and Rihanna has FINALLY BLESSED US with her newest album, Anti. I also made some good new discoveries this month (especially Hinds & Anderson .Paak) and I totally forgot Chairlift existed (remember that song Bruises from this 2008 iPod Nano commercial? Lol. They’ve actually evolved a lot and I like their new sound). I also included a Panic! At The Disco song and I hope you can forgive me—this song is just ultra catchy (but if you can’t forgive me it’s fine, I haven’t forgiven myself ugh).

Oh, and you may notice that BBHMM is on this and you may think ‘UM HELLO THIS DID NOT COME OUT 2016 HELLO’. Yes, you are correct. But Anti has only been released on Jay-Z’s streaming service Tidal (and you know I signed up for a 30-day trial to listen). Playlist will be updated when Anti makes its way to Spotify.

(jk rihanna. u call the shots not me...)

(jk rihanna. u call the shots not me…)

Comment below with your favorite new music from January 2016. Enjoy being up-to-date on new releases. I’ll have a new playlist ready to celebrate February (gonna be a  big month, in addition to WAVES [fka SWISH, fka So Help Me God], we are also expecting new releases from Santigold, Ra Ra Riot, and Animal Collective).