Sunday, May 08, 2005

Happy Mothers Day (wait...isn't that an oxymoron?)

Another pic from St. Louis:

Looking totally freaked out as I prepared for four hours of signing books

I have a ton of pics but I think I'm going to post a link to my photosite thing so you don't have to look if you don't want....I've got my own personal photosite page with a zillion rock school pics, pics of book fair in St. Louis, pics of the family, etc. etc. I have to go look and see if there's anything I need to delete, first. (ha)

So yeah, Happy Mothers Day. I woke up at 3:00 a.m. and couldn't go back to sleep so I can downstairs just as my son was walking in the door. He decided to give me my gift while the two of us were alone - a really beautiful painting he had "commissioned" by his friend, Hannah, a very talented artist. How cool is that! I will hang it in my new improved water-bed free bedroom along with a painting sent to me by my good friend, artist Marty Ison....I'm gonna have to post photos of these two paintings for sure. I also recently picked up a painting by a local artist, Vincent Natale, and I dunno, the world may be crashing and burning all around me but at least I'm surrounded by beautiful paintings and music.
So this appeared in today's Chicago Tribune:


By Allison Benedikt
Tribune staff reporter

As has become the tradition, this summer's movie slate is jampacked with every variety of celebrity: the pop star (Jessica Simpson), the SNL crossover (Adam Sandler), the brooder (Russell Crowe/Scarlett Johansson), the scandal-ridden (Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie) and the Scientologist (Tom Cruise).

But put down your glossy tabloids for one measly minute and think of all the other people who make your summer a moviegoing utopia and your stars look "just like US." Thank you, non-celebrity film people. Thank you.

And now, a few to watch:

Paul Green, subject, "Rock School"

"Talent is a dirty word in this country," says School of Rock founder Paul Green. "To me, talent is unquantifiable, so we leave it out of the equation."

Instead, Green focuses on getting his students -- kids from ages 8 to 18 -- playing and performing. "The best way to learn to do almost anything is by doing," his school's manifesto reads. "Therefore, from the moment a student joins one of our schools, he or she is playing music -- loud, with other musicians, and on genuine equipment -- and before long we have our students playing shows."

And these are not kiddie gigs, my friends. Green's apprentices have played the Knitting Factory, CBGB and, last summer, did a 19-show West Coast tour. And now: They're gonna be in pictures.

In "Rock School," director Don Argott turns his camera on Green and company, following them all the way to Germany's Zappanale (a festival dedicated to Green's rock god, Frank Zappa) and documenting the teacher's tough love. ("I'm always joking that Don screwed me," Green says of his aggressive screen presence.)

(If this sounds vaguely familiar, Richard Linklater's 2003 "School of Rock" had a similar premise, but Green says he was not consulted for that film.)

Not long ago, Green was just a struggling musician paying his way through college by teaching lessons at a Philadelphia guitar shop. "I got fired -- and took all of my students with me, cause that's what you do." What started as 20 kids in his living room is now nine schools, with more on the way.

Green, who recently moved to New York, has given up his own rock-star dreams. "The nail in the coffin was when I saw `Almost Famous.' It was a cheesy movie, but I loved it -- and I realized: I want to be a rock star then."

Now he concentrates his energy on the students -- and on developing not just their musical muscles, but also teaching them about the music biz and steering them away from top 40. "If someone's listening to Nickelback and then they hear Black Sabbath, they're gonna know the difference," Green says. "In the end, the kids always come around."

And when they surpass him? "That's my mental struggle. There's Paul the guitar player and Paul the teacher. If the latter succeeds, the former isn't happy."
Anyway, Julie is in the kitchen preparing a Mothers Day brunch for me - some type of homemade pancakes with vanilla and toasted almonds and whipped cream. Mmmmmm....

And as is their usual yearly present to me, both kids will be at Rock School today, thereby leaving me alone with the computer and not asking me When Can I Go On, Mom every five minutes --- I really need to work on my novel and that will be my gift to myself.

(oh god, don't you just hate when Americans say that? Almost as bad as "ciao". Ha! Sorry - I'm in a werid mood and am sugared out already even though I've yet to have a bite of pancake - I guess my brain is already sending my body those hyper vibes)