Smack Dab In The Middle



I had the great pleasure of meeting some accomplished and talented musicians  in a band called Smack Dab at a local music venue in Portland, OR. This is simply an offering of photos from my Blackberry that captured a night of great “World” music from this band based in Hilo, HI. Great energy.


White And Black: The Jacks Have My Heart!

I’m drawn to Jack Black and his goofy comedic meanderings. Mr. Black has a charming way about him that hints of a rare depth and splendor. Anyone who shares my love of music and comedy along a silly vein makes my heart sing. He had me at Wonderboy…


Jack White reminds me of many of the Fine Artists of my acquaintance, whose mind flies in several creative directions at once. Passionately engaged with the Artistic process and the rich cultural history of Music, is Mr. White. Oddly enough, he had me at upholstery. Oh how I appreciate those who appreciate and care for furniture…








Could you imagine the creativity unleashed if these two magnificent Jacks were co-located at a small gathering of my choosing? I’m thinking really small. Maybe just Jack, Jack and me. Is it WRONG to imagine how resplendent the gathering would be with intellect, music, repast and TWO marvelous Jacks for one Queen? A Milkstool can DREAM! 🙂


Defending the Art and Humanity of Karaoke: Break Out in Song!


Karaoke is for singers of songs. I’ve been a singer of one kind or another my whole life. Long multi-state car trips on the way to Dog Shows ensured that a shared “fun” family trip included singing in the car…at the destination…on command for the entertainment of others and for the joy of singing. 20140112-IMG_2144

Musical theater roles…singing with live bands…singing for small and large circles…singing in community nearly every day when I was an exchange student to Brasil…singing in a “Women’s Acoustic Singing Group” for several years where a potluck, talking and singing about life and revolutionary ideas sustained our very SOULS during the challenges we faced as individuals.20140112-IMG_2137 I’ve sung at weddings…funerals…the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame unexpectedly…! Singing can happen anywhere.


Even though I love singing, mostly I love the fact that music is unifying…we experience it with all of our senses if we allow ourselves to become enraptured by the sound, meaning and vibration…a combination of culture, poetry and sound. Maybe I’m just a Mystic.20140112-IMG_2129 Music is a part of the Art of my Life.


I love the accessibility of karaoke as an entertainment and community building activity. Karaoke provides those who enjoy singing an opportunity to simply use their voice to tell a story and convey an emotional state. It encourages those who are equipped with no other instruments  than themselves to sing their song. 20140112-IMG_2138

In essence, I view karaoke as the most expeditious route to people singing a song openly and in public for the joy of the singer and hopefully, the audience. Even poor singing skills don’t matter…everyone has a chance to express an idea to the group. It’s easy to encourage participation from the audience and for the audience when the music has been provided via a predictable recording. Not everyone is comfortable or encouraged by the improvisation that can occur in “real” time with a band. 20140112-IMG_2139

I completely understand that live music played by musicians is competing with karaoke at the typical bars, saloons, and other life events where music is needed. I also understand that karaoke provides people a format to express themselves as music-makers. Karaoke is active entertainment…everyone who signs up becomes part of the “show”.  Karaoke unlocks the primal musician in all of us…one song at a time. 20140112-IMG_2191