Posted in Almost Dorothy, The Potty Mouth Interviews

Zasahanell: Her & I

Zashanell

Zashanell travels by umbrella, dances with giant pink cotton candy soundclouds, and hangs out with angels. Seriously. Born and raised in good ol’ South Florida, singer-songwriter Zashanell is busting her chops creating music that makes people forget their worries and dance like wild bobble head dolls. Her latest track “U & I”, signed and remixed by international superstar DJ Laidback Luke, is all the rage against the deus ex (house music) machina. And, there’s more to come! In this Potty Mouth Interview, Zashanell & I talk about what makes her move, what moves she plans to make next, and how to make $14,000 off Ebay in one day.

Almost Dorothy: What do you love most in life?

Zashanell: Love is what I love the most. It’s my Sigmund Freud self-theory, my drive for tomorrow, dream to find the same passion in some one else; it’s what catapults me out of bed each morning. I haven’t hit that wall yet but I do believe in true love.

AD: I hear love, the dopamine it releases in the body, is like heroin. Love is a drug, or at the very least, a dope show. So, what energizes you (besides music!)?

Z: I randomly ask strangers to share their life stories with me. Some share, some stare. Starbucks, a short walk IN CIRCLES, the sunrise at 6am on the way back home from Miami Beach, a shower, pictures of nature or lights.

AD: Tell us about your song writing process. When you write songs, do they all come to you the same way,that internal space? Or, does each song come from different places and sources of inspiration?

Z: My process for writing is different every time, I tried doing the pick a spot for writing kind of thing, smoke your lungs out thing, drink your life away thing, cry your heart out thing, then stopped and just did the breath and relax and the write thing. That can some times work, but some times I do need that anger, pain, stress in me to write beautifully.

I’m inspired by truth, by real feelings. It can come from a movie, a line in another song, people sitting at a bus stop, a message on a bill board, a motion, a beautiful sound, a sigh, an old lady’s wrinkles. I’ve actually stopped on the middle of the dance floor to grab pen and napkin to write a feeling I got while dancing to use for lyrics.

If there were a specific way for writing, I probably would get it all wrong. So thank God there isn’t. That’s why I love writing so much; I can do what ever I want with my words.

AD: Me too! I often grab pens and napkins on dance floors to get phone numbers from extraterrestrials. How did you come to write “U & I”?

Z: I was fed up with giving 100% and getting back 50%. I put so much time and many years of me into a love that never happened but could of, should of, would of, but never did. I walked into a small room with a microphone with a beautiful melody, pressed record and sang.

I will continue to always give 100% though, that’s what the song is about, never holding back and always giving all of you no matter what.

AD: Collaboration is a big part of your musical career. What’s it like to collaborate with a diverse group of artists and musicians?

Z: A different side of me comes out depending on the kind of music or musicians I compose with. So I’d have to say it’s an awesome experience for me. Let’s me experiment new things.

AD: Any fist fights or funniest moments you want to reveal?

Z: Nope. Oh, I fought a fan once because she didn’t want to be my fan anymore. I sold my pen on Ebay for 14,000 dollars. I’ve been using a broken 2005 Blackberry with half the keypad missing. When I’ve had a bran new Iphone 4 sitting in my bag waiting to be connected on it’s own for the past year. Not all are true stories, guess which ones are false.

AD: As a musician, what is your proudest moment to date?

Z: Sharing my music with my Grandmother and Father before they passed away. They both supported my music, which means the world to me. 2006 Won Second place at a Battle of the bands without having a band lol, I think that’s why I couldn’t win first place. 2007 Performing in Texas in front of 1,000 plus. 2009 My first real Recording with pro Musicians as my mentors. 2011 Getting a single signed to one of the biggest names in House music.

AD: Proudest moment as a human being?

Z: I was sitting in my car ready to get out and walk into my house, when my dad called me while at work just to tell me how proud he was of me.

AD: I think Madonna said, “Music makes the people come together.” What is it about the power of music that brings people together despite cultural, linguistic and even socio-economic differences?

Z: It’s all about a feeling. Music has the power to make two strangers in a room that have never met in their lives feel the same thing at the same time, make them move in their own way and no one would have had to speak a word. That to me is powerful.

Zashanell

AD: Who cares about the future! What does it feel like right now to be Zashanell? To be creating music? To do what you were born to do?

Z: I feel normal now that I’m doing what I was created to do, at least that’s what I believe. If not, I don’t think I’d have the gift I have today.

AD: What is the perfect day for you?

Z: Getting at least four songs written and recorded and the rest of the day spent with my family.

AD: Finally, what’s at the end of the rainbow?

Z: A stork dropping off my album. Another Stork will pass a bill board with my tour dates, and stop at the end of the rainbow and leave you my heart. I’ll be dressed as pot of Gold.

Zashanell is a Hispanic-American Miami, FL based Singer-Songwriter. Zashanell & GTA with their latest track release titled “U&I” has achieved considerable worldwide success. From the cold corners of Finland to the heart of South Africa to the night clubs of New York City and Miami, everyone is infatuated with her seducing sultry vocal melodies. It is no surprise that when Laidback Luke heard the track “U&I” he immediately signed it to Mix Mash Records and created a remix of the song. Zashanell will be performing at Dayglow – Atlanta, GA on 10/8/2011 and Dayglow  Columbus, OH on 10/21/2011.

Links:Twitter & Facebook.

Posted in The Potty Mouth Interviews

Lolo Reskin Is Wonder Woman

Lolo Reskin as Wonder Woman

Ma and I love Lauren Reskin because she has red hair that matches Wonder Woman’s red boots. She may even be Wonder Woman but I have no proof. I couldn’t find her wonder boots. All I know is that Lauren Reskin goes by Lolo and she was born in Miami and loved the city (and the weather) so much she never left. Music is in Lolo’s blood, which is also red! Her late grandmother, Joan Field, was a concert violinist who released records on Deutsch Gramophone and her late grandfather, Alan Reskin, originally opened Allegro Music House in 1961 making Lolo the second Reskin to open a music store in South Florida. Her father Charles is a Julliard graduate, professional trumpet player and composer. Oh, I almost forgot: Lolo is the great-niece of Alan Freed, the (in)famous 1950’s radio DJ and music promoter who coined the phrase “rock and roll.” I wish I were a great-niece. Or nice.

I met Lolo a few months ago at the yummy yum Vegan Pot Luck Dinner event at her store, Sweat Records, and that’s when I decided I wanted to conduct a Potty Mouth Interview with her (because of her hair!). Since opening Sweat Records in March 2005, the store has become an institution and refuge for creative geniuses, weirdos and freaks like me and my ma, and I wanted to know what powers Lolo’s creative combustion engine. In a world of ever shrinking independent record stores, Sweat Records stands as both an artifact and a cultural dam holding back the tsunami of fast (and free) Internet music downloads that has wiped out many independents. But what makes Sweat Records a solid Miami institution is their commitment to local music, hard to find stuff, great stuff, and their innovative programming–the Vegan Pot Luck, Waffle Party, Sweatstock and more. So, if you don’t know Lolo, here she is. And come see her at Sweat when you have chance. (She’s a little older now, but still pretty damn cool.)

Lolo Reskin as Wonder Woman

Almost Dorothy: What it is that motivates you, moves you, and makes you so passionate about Miami’s cultural landscape?

Lolo Reskin: I love this crazy city and everyone in it. Miami has its shady and shallow sides but it’s also full of geniuses, weirdos, eccentrics, and a massive potpourri of truly nice, down-to-earth people fighting the good fight and spreading goodness.

AD: As an entrepreneur and owner of Sweat Records, the biggest challenges for you were probably starting the business followed by the recovery after the destruction of the original Sweat Records store by Hurricane Wilma. But what are the biggest challenges you face daily?

LR: First challenge is how to keep what is essentially a physical format music store alive in the digital age, but we’re making it happen. Tied for second are a) dealing with the mountains of emails, texts, calls and meeting requests I receive on a daily basis, and b) the behind-the-scenes realities of running a small business. A broken gate, the city about to tear up our street, bills, bills, bills–it’s never-ending.

AD: What is your vision for the future of Sweat and Miami’s art & (sub)culture scene?

LR: More venues and alternative spaces, more bike culture, the further cross-pollination of Miami’s high art organizations and “the downtown scene”, and hopefully a larger audience actively supporting local music.

Sweat Records | Photo by Neil de la Flor

AD: So, I’ve been way too serious. What do you want to be when you grow up?

LR: Sweat opened when I was 22. All in all it’s been a ridiculously wonderful experience but there are other businesses I want to open, projects to work on, and areas of interest I want to delve deeper into. Eventually I’d love to open a vegan diner or bakery or some sort of food-oriented establishment. I also love embroidery and makeup art and would be happy spending way more time on either.

AD: Why?

LR: I’ve always been well-rounded and into all sorts of different things. Supposedly I’m the rare balanced Gemini.

AD: Oh, you’re a Gemini. I’m gonna call the cops! (Or not). So everyone probably knows you’re a resident DJ at The Vagabond. For those of you that don’t know, Lolo is a resident DJ at The Vagabond. Would you share with us your favorites? The ones you think everyone should listen to, to seek out and get to know better in order to become better humans. (You can read about ma and I doing bad stuff at the Vagabond here.)

LR: I’ve never prescribed to the notion that everything must be new, new, new. I still spin off CD mixes I make and I play a lot “indie classics” from all decades. My personal favorites are still Blur and The Smiths. To me both groups’ music just gets better with repeated listening. Other groups/artists in perpetual rotation are Prince, Serge Gainsbourg, The Shins, Lush, Outkast, Belle & Sebastian, Air, The Beatles, Pizzicato 5, Pulp, Supergrass, ANR, Queens of the Stone Age, Saint Etienne, Massive Attack, Doves, George Michael, Arcade Fire, Brian Eno/Roxy Music, Kanye, Yeasayer, Pavement, Kings of Convenience, Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings, Aphex Twin, and so on. I also love classical music and listen to Classical South Florida (89.7 FM) in my car non-stop.

 

 

 

AD: Favorite non-curse word?

LR: “True”

AD: Favorite food.

LR: My last meal would be grilled tofu and artichoke hearts, vegan mashed potatoes, mangoes, cherries, and chocolate chip cookies.

AD: Yum. Lolo Reskin is…

LR: Constantly evolving.

AD: Last question: If you were a crystal ball, where would you want to be placed and why?

LR: In David Bowie’s hands in Labyrinth, please.

 

A little more about Lolo. She sits (very still) on the City of Miami Arts & Entertainment Council and has served on the Florida Chapter Board of the Recording Academy. Her weekly party is Fridays at The Vagabond where she DJs from 10pm to midnight. Last week ma and I danced our butts off at the Vagabond and we still can’t find them. Hopefully, our butts will be located soon. Sweatstock, which is Sweat Record’s next big deal event, is coming up soon. Find out more here. and she’s working like a mad to make it fly. After Sweatstock, watch out for “Sweat Cinematic 6-Pack at O Cinema” starting in May. It’s going to be another cool Monday night series of music-related, indie and cult films. And meet ma and me this Sunday for Sweat’s “Waffle Party + Bold Native Movie Screening“. It’s going to be tasty for sure and I may (or may not) wear a wig. Keep in touch with what’s going on in Miami on Sweat’s events calender.

Posted in Culture Clash

Julieta Venegas: Review of the “Otra Cosa” tour

Cover of "Otra Cosa"
Cover of Otra Cosa

On February 27th, 2011 Jack Daniels presented Julieta Venegas at the Gusman Center in Miami for her “Otra Cosa” tour. The stage, unexpectedly dark, was illuminated with one spotlight where Venegas sat at a black piano. She shined with the intensity of a million suns.

She opened the concert with the song, “Limon y Sal” and the audience burst into applause.

Tengo que confesar que a veces
no me gusta tu forma de ser
luego te me desapareces
y no entiendo muy bien porque
no dices nada romantico
cuando llega el atardecer
te pones de un humor extraño
con cada luna llena al mes

During last Sunday’s performance, Venegas began with slow, melodic songs and wrapped up the show with heart-pounding dance beats. Everyone, of course, was on their feet even though the sound system was problematic. Venegas exemplifies the difference between an interpreter of music and a true artist because she has an intimate relation with the instruments she plays.

Since the 1996 release of her first self-titled album, “Julieta Venegas”, she has delighted fans with her extraordinary voice but what caught my attention at the concert was the diversity of the audience, children with their parents, single ladies and men, gay & straight couples, Spanish and non-Spanish speakers, who sang along with Venegas. Next to me were a non-Spahish speaking gay couple, who, delighted by her music, sang along in their awkwardly-sweet Spanish. It is the sign of a true artist when that artist can connect to an audience that intuitively gets her. Venegas’s music is inclusive, barrier-less, and its power is transmitted to the listener at  a primal, subconscious level. (Listen to “Bien o Mal” here.)

Venegas rocked the stage! She left her fans in awe. We wanted more and more. She is what I call a complete musician—one that sings, writes her own songs, and plays her own instruments. Julieta Venegas can sing any song from any other artist, like she did at the concert when she sang “Sin Documentos” by Calamaro, and no matter what song she sings, I know it’s her. Right away. Because Venegas’s voice is unmistakably extraordinary.

For more information about the “Otra Cosa”, which will continue on May 28 in Valladolid, or Venegas visit her website http://www.julietaveneas.net. For tickets information you can visit Livenation.com

Posted in Culture Clash, Themes

Jorge Drexler Opens Up at the Fillmore Miami Beach

Jorge Drexler

Almost Dorothy is happily puffed up and ready to introduce Paloma Gensollen to the Almost Dorothy family. Over the next year, Paloma will write about Latin music, art, culture and mayhem in South Florida. She’s what you call an emerging writer, a newbie, with nice shoes and a lion’s heart of gold. Paloma is real cool plus she’s the one who helped make me into a voodoo doll. Enjoy Paloma’s writing. Love ya, Almost Dorothy

Back in my teenaged-wonder-years (a really fun one, by the way), I was introduced to Jorge Drexler through his song “Mi Guitarra y Voz” from his album Eco. This song became my best friend and soon enough the complete collection of Jorge Drexler’s albums became my buddies. His music became part of my skin, his lyrics my national anthem. All I wanted was more. This Saturday, January 29th, 2011 the Rhythm Foundation presents Jorge Drexler at the Fillmore Miami Beach at the Jackie Gleason Theatre.

“Que viva la ciencia! Que viva la poesía! Que viva siento mi lengua cuando tu lengua está sobre la lengua mía. El agua está en el barro, el barro en el ladrillo, el ladrillo está en la pared y en la pared tu fotografía…Hay tantas cosas yo solo preciso dos; Mi guitarra y Vos” – from “Guitarra y Vos” (Eco)

Jorge Drexler

Drexler began writing songs in 1989 and released his first album in 1992, La Luz que Sabe Robar. A couple of years later, Drexler closed (or opened) an important chapter in his career in Uruguay with his second album Radar. Saying “goodbye” to his homeland, Drexler expanded his wings, flew to Madrid, and that’s where he recorded his third album, Vaivén. On this album, he collaborated with Joaquín Sabina, Luis Eduardo Aute and Javier Alvarez.

Since moving to Madrid, Drexler has released a total of 10 albums, along with several re-releases. In 2005, Drexler won worldwide recognition when he received an Oscar for his song “Al Otro Lado del Río” from the movie Motorcycle Diaries. This is the first time in the history of the Oscars that a Spanish song won the award. In 2008, Jorge Drexler released his ninth album Cara B, which he recorded live on a tour around 7 cities in Cataluña, Spain. Amazed by Drexler’s music, the film director Manuel Huerta joined the project and made a documentary film of the tour—Un Instante Precisio.

“Yo solo quiero que sepas: no estoy aquí de visita, y es para ti que está escrita esta canción” –Fusión (Eco)

Just like his song “Todo Se Tranforma” from his album Eco, Drexler has also evolved and transormed as a musician. His most recent album, Amar La Trama, is Drexler’s first live album where he transorms a television set into a record studio. Unlike his previous works, this time Jorge Drexler puts aside “house music” and experiments with instruments and is accompanied by a live band. It is fresh.

“Nada es mas simple, No hay otra norma. Nada se pierde, todo se transforma” – from “Nada se Pierde” (Eco)

Everything changes, according to Jorge Drexler’s, but his sound is singular, unique. It makes you move, the rhythms fuse to your body and the melodies lift you up. With several nominations for Grammy Awards, the Latin Grammy Awards and the Spanish Music Prize, among other awards, Miami is sure be moved by Drexler’s voice. I will see you all at the Fillmore. I’ll be the one screaming my head off with Almost Dorothy.

Information: Fillmore Miami Beach at the Jackie Gleason Theater, 1700 Washington Avenue, Miami Beach 33139. Tickets are $68.50 front orchestra, $43.50 orchestra, and $33.50 mezzanine – plus fees. Purchase them online or at Ticketmaster outlets, or the Fillmore box office, or call (800) 745-3000.

by Paloma Gensollen