It wasn’t joy, it wasn’t excitement, it was relief that overwhelmed me when I learned today that Reconstructionist rabbinical students could become rabbis regardless of the religion of their partners. In fact, the statement made it clear that, at one point in time, a qualified student could be denied school acceptance if their partner was not Jewish. This was a move to end that practice. I was relieved for a number of reasons. To know that quality rabbis were being denied access to rabbinical school is just heartbreaking. I cannot think of a time when we will not be in need of inspiring teachers and leaders. It hurts to know that someone could actively be denied that opportunity, and that our community could be denied that gift.
This past Saturday I attended the Berklee Beantown Jazz Festival. I first caught this festival back in 2012 when I first moved to Boston but hadn’t been back since. At the last minute, a friend of ours asked if we were attending. Thankfully I had the day free. (more…)
I’ve been thinking about food since high school. Not in the “I’m hungry, what should I have to eat” sense, but in the “Where does it come from? How did my food get to me? Who is involved in the production of my food?” sense. I was probably not much fun at the cafeteria table. I don’t remember exactly when, but I learned some time ago that America’s hunger problem is an issue of distribution, not of supply. We’ve got enough food to feed everyone, but the food is not getting to people.
In this week’s episode of Last Week Tonight, John Oliver zeroes in where all that leftover food might be going. The totally heartbreaking answer is that it’s going straight to the dump. Food gets thrown out and it gets thrown out for stupid reasons. Some of it is due to culture: we have bizarre shopping habits and misconceptions about food on the shelves. Some of it is due to law and tax codes: for-profit entities have no incentive to give away what they don’t/can’t/won’t sell. (more…)
I have a mountain of song demos on my computer. Actually, I take that back. I have a mountain of idea demos on my computer. Rarely do I actually finish a demo for a complete song. More often then not, I get an idea, and I record it using Garage Band just to get it out of my head. Just as my notebook (the paper kind) is filled with lyric ideas–some song’s complete, most are not–my recorded ideas are not complete. Some of them could stand alone, many of them really require having the rest of a song built around it. Sometimes it happens, sometimes it doesn’t. If I have an idea that fits whatever band I’m playing with, I might present it to the band and we might jam on it, and it could turn into a song.
Once upon a time, it was fairly standard for a band to appear at a record store while on tour. They might perform in some capacity, they might just sign records. They were typically seen as great opportunities to connect with local fans and obviosuly boost sales for both the artist and the record store. As physical music sales took a dive, so did the frequency of these once common in-store appearances*.
This past April, my band The New Limits was involved in a promotion between Boston Scene Party, a collective of music web sites, and Sound Lion, a high-end audio store in Harvard Square. (more…)
I can’t tell you the exact moment I became a fan of They Might Be Giants. It would have been 5th or 6th grade. One of my friends at the time had an album or two and I inevitably saw their appearance on Tiny Toons. I do remember that it was in 6th grade, the 1994-1995 school year, that I became obsessed with my cassette of “Flood.” That year, my dad took me to see them perform at the Palace Theatre in New Haven. It was part of their tour in support of the “John Henry” album. I had been to see live music before–my parents made sure of that–but this was my first “rock concert.” (more…)