Monday, February 15, 2016

It's all about that bass... and Bowie... and Pajamas?

I'm going to make an effort to catch up with some news today, on my "day off", since I have fallen behind in my 2016 blogging (as mentioned in my last post).

One of my very favorite hobbies is music. I am a (VERY!) amateur musician. I play some guitar, bass, trumpet, clarinet... and am trying to learn sitar and harmonium. For me, playing music is a spiritual practice.

Playing bass at the David Bowie tribute in Boston.
I recently had the chance to play some bass at a David Bowie tribute show. A group of eastern-Massachusetts based musicians came together -- rehearsing only about three times, mind you, and never all of us at once -- to create a fun and loving tribute to the artist. That happened Saturday night, February 13, at the Milky Way Lounge in Jamaica Plain. It was just so. Much. Fun.

In the picture to the left, I am dressed as a clown, inspired by Bowie's "Ashes to Ashes" video (I will embed that video below). It's not necessarily my most flattering look, but it seemed appropriate!

After David Bowie's death, which came as a surprise to most of us, I was very struck by how much his music and androgynous and gender queer persona had meant to me in my lifetime. Like many others in the LGBTQ community, he was one of the first people that made it seem not so horrible to be queer in this world. And the more I listen to his music, the more I realize how much I love it. Basically all of it. We lost a truly gifted artist.

And so, it felt really good to be a small part of such a fitting local tribute to the man. I am grateful that I got to do this.

Here, as promised, is the "Ashes to Ashes" video. I love the song, and the video is one of the trippy-est ones from that golden MTV era.


The timing of this opportunity to play bass is interesting for me. Back about a month ago, we had a "Church of the Holy Pajamas"-themed service, leading into our Mid-Year Congregational Meeting and Brunch served up by our wonderful Board. The "Church of the Holy Pajamas" is a term that I learned from a colleague, and it was apparently coined by students at the Andover Newton Theological School about ten years ago or so. It refers to that place where many people worship when they either don't have a faith community, or when they just can't make themselves leave the comforts of home to get to church. We had a lot of fun in our very-casual service, where many of us (including myself) wore pajamas.

At the "Church of the Holy Pajamas" service.
We ended with our own "Holy Pajama Jam Band" playing "With a Little Help from My Friends". And, that (back on January 10) was the first time I played bass in public for a couple of years. (One of my all-time favorite bass lines, by the way.)

Since this is a post of unflattering photos, I'll add the image to the right. Here I'm in my holy pajamas (with fluffy Chewbacca slippers). In the inset photo, I'm playing bass that day. I'd share other photos of that day, but not many folks love to have pictures of themselves in pajamas on the Internet. (Just me?)

In any case, after that service, I realized how much I love playing bass with other musicians. And very shortly thereafter, the Bowie gig opportunity came up. It felt like a message from the universe.

Does anyone need a bass player for their band? Email me. ;-)

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Standing on the Side of Love in Solidarity with Black Lives Matter

The UU Congregation in Andover with flags.
I have been slow in posting here in 2016! Apologies. I have been fighting a mega-cold that just doesn't quit, and so things like blogging have fallen behind.

This Sunday, February 14, is "Standing on the Side of Love Sunday", marking the end of #30DaysOfLove (learn more at the SSL website).

We will be focused on the Black Lives Matter movement and what we can do, further, to show solidarity. The service will end with a congregational reflection.

To the left is the UUCiA and our own Black Lives Matter flag, which we put up with a brief ceremony during a worship service in November 2015. You can read about UU congregations displaying BLM banners here. You can see the (getting more crowded!) map of where UU congregations have displayed a BLM banner or flag here.

Addendum: You can listen to my reflection here.