• Christmas Part 1: Patrick’s Concert

    I had so much fun being in Rev. Patrick’s Christmas Concert at the Community Church of Hope last week. At the end of the show, I got one of the best compliments I’ve ever received in my singing career: “You looked so happy up there.”

    Even though I don’t really celebrate Christmas, I love Christmas music. I can listen to it all year. The only person who loves it more than me is Patrick. When he asked me to be in his concert, I immediately said, “I’m in!”

    Then I asked, “What am I singing?”

    I’m a classically trained soprano so I figured he might want a classic Christmas ballad. He asked me to sing “Night Before Christmas” but then he also said he wanted me to sing “Welcome Christmas” from The Grinch and a new song – “Santa’s Solar Sleigh.”

    Only Patrick can get away with asking me to sing such a ridiculous song. I practiced it so much I couldn’t walk my dog without running lyrics in my head.

    Then Patrick said he wanted me to be dressed as Cindy Lou Who from The Grinch for the first half. I responded with “Do I get a petticoat with that?”

    Singing in Patrick’s Concert 2016

    Yes. Yes I did – a pink one.
    (For the second half, I got to be a human and wear a simple sapphire blue velvet shift.)

    The concert was so much fun. Unlike other shows I’ve done for Patrick, he had the vocalists on the stage the whole time. His piano was at center stage and the other vocalist, Joey, and I were off to the side on stools. I felt like we were the two old guys from The Muppets (without the jokes, just the occasional sideways glance at each other). When we weren’t singing, we had the best view in the house. From my vantage point, I could see Patrick’s eyes over his music, his foot on the pedal, and I could see inside the piano which is basically a reflection of his fingers. I was mesmerized when George played Ave Maria on his violin – his fingers and bow weaving a tapestry of sound. And it was all Christmas music so I knew every word, every note. I did everything but mouth the words – it was a fully body experience.

    And then there was the sing-along. Patrick never rehearses this part with us in advance. They’re songs we all know so he plays and we sing with audience. I threw in the harmony whenever I felt like it. After the concert, a friend said even when everyone was singing, she could hear my voice over the crowd. (I’m not sure she knew that Joey and my microphones were on for the sing-along.)

    I had as much fun experiencing others performing as I did singing in this show, and I can’t help but sway when I’m wearing a fluffy petticoat. I’m glad Patrick’s already put me on notice that he wants me in next year’s show.

    My other favorite holiday tradition – Christmas Part 2: Phoestivus!

  • Baby It’s Cold Out-WTF?!

    I love Christmas music. I’m that person who will listen to Christmas music in July just because I like it. Who says it has to be the holiday season to enjoy holiday music?

    Lately, it seems like every time I turn on the all-Christmas radio station, they’re playing “Baby It’s Cold Outside.” Musically speaking, this is a beautiful duet – I love the back-and-forth and the layering of the voices. But have you actually listened to the lyrics? They exemplify what’s wrong with how boys and girls are socialized – he refuses to accept when she rebuffs his advances and she’s worried about being slut shamed by her family and community. Here’s what goes through my head every time I hear it.
    (M = male; F = female; B = both; my thoughts in italics)

    Winter Wonderland by Kristina_Servant from Flickr (Creative Commons License)
    Winter Wonderland by Kristina_Servant from Flickr (Creative Commons License)

    (F) I really can’t stay
    (M) Baby it’s cold outside
    (F) I’ve got to go away
    (M) Baby it’s cold outside
    Dude, she said she was leaving.
    (F) This evening has been
    (M) Been hoping that you’d drop in
    (F) So very nice
    (M) I’ll hold your hands, they’re just like ice
    Hey! Don’t touch her without consent!

    (F) My mother will start to worry
    (M) Beautiful, what’s your hurry?
    (F) Father will be pacing the floor
    (M) Listen to the fireplace roar
    (F) So really I’d better scurry
    Bah! Be bold woman!
    (M) Beautiful, please don’t hurry
    (F) Maybe just a half a drink more
    Arg! Don’t do that!
    (M) Put some records on while I pour
    You’re a manipulative jerk.

    (F) The neighbors might think
    Who gives a f*ck what they think?
    (M) Baby, it’s bad out there
    And why are you calling her “Baby?”
    That’s so belittling the way you use it. She has a name, you know.
    (F) Say, what’s in this drink?
    Did you give her roofies or something?
    (M) No cabs to be had out there
    Get an Uber.
    (F) I wish I knew how
    (M) Your eyes are like starlight now
    (F) To break this spell
    (M) I’ll take your hat, your hair looks swell
    Ugh you’re so creepy.

    Christmas Ornament by Tobyotter from Flickr (Creative Commons License)
    Christmas Ornament by Tobyotter from Flickr (Creative Commons License)

    (F) I ought to say no, no, no
    Say it or don’t. It’s ok to enjoy intimacy.
    (M) Mind if I move in closer?
    Thanks for asking…finally.
    (F) At least I’m gonna say that I tried
    Where’s your integrity? Say what you mean, mean what you say.
    (M) What’s the sense in hurting my pride?
    Screw his feelings if he doesn’t respect you boundaries.
    (F) I really can’t stay
    Then leave!
    (M) Baby don’t hold out
    (B) Ah, but it’s cold outside

    (F) I’ve got to get home
    Walk out the door!
    (M) Oh, baby, you’ll freeze out there
    (F) Say, lend me your coat
    (M) It’s up to your knees out there
    (F) You’ve really been grand
    No he hasn’t! He’s being a dick!
    (M) Thrill when you touch my hand
    (F) Why don’t you see
    (M) How can you do this thing to me?
    It’s not all about you!

    (F) There’s bound to be talk tomorrow
    Who cares?
    (M) Think of my lifelong sorrow
    Really? Since when do your feelings trump hers?
    (F) At least there will be plenty implied
    (M) If you caught pneumonia and died
    And died – Really??
    (F) I really can’t stay
    Seriously – You. Door. Go!
    (M) Get over that hold out
    Ew ew eww! Lady – run away from this guy!
    (B) Ah, but it’s cold outside
    (B) Oh, baby, it’s cold outside
    (B) Oh, baby, it’s cold outside

    Whenever I hear this song, I think of a lesson from security expert Gavin de Becker: A person who doesn’t hear “no” is trying to control you. Perhaps it was sweet song when it was written, reflective of the times, but I still think it’s an indication of a misogynistic culture.

    I want to re-write this conversation in a way that works. I can see it going one of two ways:

    (F) I should get going.
    (M) What’s your hurry, Baby?
    (F) I’m tired. I want to go home.
    (M) It’s so cold out there.
    (F) Of course it is. It’s December. I’ll be fine.
    (M) One more drink . . .
    (F) No. Quit being a jerk. I’m leaving.

    (F) I should get going.
    (M) I had fun tonight. You’re welcome to stay.
    (F) Thank you. I’d like that. Let me text my family so they’ll know not to expect me until tomorrow.