Posts Tagged 'new york'

MOFT: Episode 10 (Ingrid Michaelson)

I finally have a celebrity crush!

For the first time in 35 years, there is finally a woman out there whose posters I want to plaster all over my bedroom walls, whose biographical trivia I want to accumulate like so many rare golden nuggets, whose live and TV appearances I want to schedule my life around (while still respecting all applicable stalker laws, of course).

The object of my intense affection and the clear winner of this week’s My One Favorite Thing award is singer Ingrid Michaelson.

Before last Thursday, all I knew of Ms. Michaelson is she sang this simple, catchy love song called “The Way I Am” that my girlfriend dedicated to me on Facebook (That song, featured in an Old Navy ad, propelled Michaelson to the significant indie-type of stardom she now enjoys. My girlfriend dedicated it to me mostly because it contains the line “I’d buy you Rogaine when you start losing all of your hair,” which, alas, has some, uh, personal relevancy).

I didn’t have much in the way of expectations when my girlfriend told me she bought us tickets to go see Michaelson live at New York’s City Winery (which for all you locals is a fairly new, awesome music venue worth checking out – cavernous yet still somehow cozy, with great acoustics, and good, reasonably priced food and wine to boot).

I certainly didn’t expect Ingrid Michaelson would give one of the most entertaining, enchanting performances I have ever witnessed, and that she would make me all giddy with girl-crush tingliness.

Now I knew from listening to a few of her songs that Michaelson had strong pipes, but she’s no mere studio voice. On stage, her sound reached soaring heights with very little effort, showing at least as much range and power and clarity as on her albums. Plus, she also knew how to use the occasional, well-placed ‘crack’ in her voice to display an endearing vulnerability and fragility in songs that were inevitably about the getting and/or losing of love.

Though it played a clear second fiddle to the star singer, Michaelson’s band was pretty tight as well, benefiting from their long-time collaboration. And the backup vocals – performed by the three guitarists and a key factor in many songs – meshed beautifully with Michaelson’s voice. Her music overall generally rocked a teensy bit harder than some of the other female songwriters who I would put in a similar category, like Feist or Regina Spektor.

But it wasn’t the technical performance of the concert that won me over. The star of the show was clearly Michaelson’s silly, playful, self-deprecating, lovable personality … which came as a complete surprise to me. I don’t know if it was because of her name or her voice, but I expected Ingrid to be this tall, stunning, rail-thin, aloof performer, yet she was actually a bit on the short side, full of curves, mad funny and totally engaging.

Dressed in a stylish yet comfy-looking hipster outfit – tight dark pants, brown leather boots, sleeveless black shirt, colorful scarf and a cute, bowler-like hat –  she reminded me of the sexy best friend you totally dig hanging out with and then all of a sudden somewhere along the way, you realize you’ve fallen in love.

Despite her talent, she seems rather humble and doesn’t take herself or her work too seriously, joking during the concert that she composes all her songs in the ‘C’ chord because it’s the simplest and turning the lyrics of another song into a catchy paean for the Lost TV show.

(I wondered at times if her humility and self-doubt were a bit of an act – she seemed way too engaging of a performer for it to be totally legit – but then there were moments, like when she came back for her encore and spent several minutes trying to remember how to play a tune on the piano, where she truly seemed about ready to lose it).

Michaelson loves interacting with the audience, and its one of her biggest strengths as a performer. Early in the show, she obliged one fellow who wanted to propose to his girlfriend by popping the question for him and then dedicated a beautiful, yet also sweetly realistic song of hers called ‘Giving Up’ to the happy couple. “Thanks for reminding me I’m alone,” she joked. (Oh, but you so don’t have to be, Ingrid!)

At another point, she chided the audience for not being more enthusiastic about joining in on the chorus Ingrid and Deadman ... Can you feel the love?to her song ‘The Hat’. She created this hilarious little story/metaphor – seemingly on the spot – about taking us on a date and comparing our vocal performance to a lame first kiss:

“I take you in my car. I take you home and I reach in, I lean in for a kiss. And what you just gave me was like a dry, half-mouthed, Aunt Mabel kiss. And I bought you like seven dirty martinis so I think I could get a little bit more. So I’m going to try once again, and at least let me get a full lip situation, if not a little over the blouse action.”

When the audience subsequently obliged with a more full-throated response, she screamed “You’re a slut” into the microphone before finishing the song.

I fear I’m not doing a good enough job explaining her rockingness, so I just encourage everyone to catch her act when she’s in town and see for herself. You won’t regret it.

The only thing I regret is how stupid and flustered I got after summoning up enough courage to approach her after the show to get her picture. I don’t remember what I said, but I’m pretty sure it was incoherent. My girlfriend tried to help me out by telling Ingrid that I had immediately placed her in my Top 5, and thus was free to fool around with her, but I think that scared her even more!

Oh well, I’ll do better next time ;-)

Do the right thing … and suffer the consequences

I can be such a sappy sucker.

About a month ago, I noticed a pigeon egg lying in the planter on the windowsill outside my bedroom, and against my better judgment, I left it there.

I wanted to get rid of it because pigeons can be loud and rather disgusting, and I didn’t much relish the idea of having them breed right next to my bed. But I also knew I’d feel bad for the parent pigeons, who after all were just looking for a space to do what they were put on this Earth to do. (plus, pigeons mate for life, which is kind of romantic!)

It wasn’t my first experience dealing with unwanted pigeons. Two years ago, I had a family of the birds living on my balcony, behind a mirror my ex-girlfriend was supposed to have long ago fixed or gotten rid of, and they totally dirtied up the place with their crap and nesting material.

As soon as their baby was old enough to fly out on his own, I told my ex to get rid of the mirror immediately so we could start cleaning the balcony; she didn’t and the next day the pigeons had laid two more eggs. I told her enough was enough, and made her dispose of the eggs and clear the nest, something she as a crazy animal lover was very reluctant to do. After she had gotten rid of the eggs, the mother came back to the balcony several times, cooing repeatedly, pacing, and probably wondering what the hell had happened. It was not easy to watch …

So this time I decided to let the pigeon egg be. I thought I was doing the noble thing and at first, it didn’t look like such a bad decision. The birds were actually pretty quiet – the only noise came after the baby was born and one of the parents would return to feed it (which they do by regurgitating their food into the baby’s mouth). And I actually got a fair amount of enjoyment watching the baby hatch and grow up (baby pigeons are so much cuter when they don’t have mature feathers!!).

Last week, the baby pigeon became old enough to fly out on his own – I felt a bit like a proud parent watching him maneuver uncertainly across the street – and eventually it flew off and never came back. The parents, too, never reappeared.

I thought Pigeons At My Apartment, the sequel, was going to have a happy ending. Alas, it was not meant to be.

This past Sunday night, upon returning from our trip to the Poconos, my girlfriend noticed a bunch of very small, almost microscopic bugs swarming on top of the fan by where the pigeons had been. I had no idea what the bugs were and just sprayed the area with Raid. I thought I had killed all the little creatures and solved the problem …

And then I started to itch …

Apparently, those little bugs were bird mites, and they were in search of a place to feed once their initial host – the baby pigeon – had disappeared. It seems I became that source – I’ve noticed a number of tiny red marks on my legs and chest – and it totally creeps me out to think a couple dozen of them may be crawling on me as I type this.

An exterminator is coming on Thursday to treat the bedroom, but these mites can be tough buggers to get rid of. The literature is somewhat conflicted but according to most of the extensive Googling I’ve done, bird mites don’t tend to flourish on human blood, and they don’t seem to do any real health damage. Hopefully, in a few days, the apartment and my body will be mite-free again.

The moral of this story: Sappy suckers sometimes suffer severely.


October 2014
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