My life has been filled with Paul Simon.
As a kid, my parents played me one of two cassettes on car trips: Raffi, and Paul Simon’s Graceland. When we lived in Nebraska and my dad preached at a tiny church an hour and a half away, more often than not our return trips would feature Graceland as their soundtrack (that or “A Prairie Home Companion”).
And while my musical tastes grew and expanded over the years, I always loved Paul – especially that magnificent, beautiful, nostalgic whirlwind of African and pop music that is Graceland. I love that album. If you don’t know its story (how Paul worked with black South African musicians despite anti-apartheid sanctions from the U.S. government), you should. The album is a living history of that era that transcends the actual music.
Every song is a masterpiece, from the lyrically wonderful road-and-God-anthem “Graceland”, to the exquisite African harmonies of the a cappella “Homeless”, to the Tex-Mex, Los Lobos collaboration “All Around The World”. And who could forget the upbeat yet lonely “You Can Call Me Al”? (Click the link to see the hilarious music video featuring Chevy Chase.) There is absolutely nothing wrong with this album (except for, maybe, the slightly annoying “I Know What I Know”…), which is why it won a Grammy. And I have my parents to thank – especially my dad – for making sure I’ve loved this album, and this songwriter, ever since I was a kid.
I realized recently that I neglected one event on my list of my Top 8 OKC Experiences: The Ghouls Gone Wild Halloween Parade.
My Halloween experiences growing up were basically just trick-or-treating in small-town Nebraska. That’s it. No crazy parties, no crazy festivals (unless you count the local church’s “haunted house”, which was always your usual cardboard, grapes-as-eyeballs NonFrightFest). I did my fair share of corn mazes and costume parties in high school and college, but nothing that was really cool. Crazy Halloween festivals happened in New York or Los Angeles – not here, I thought.
Until OKC’s Ghouls Gone Wild parade started.
OKC’s got some cool events, but nothing as subversive or crazy as Ghouls Gone Wild (I guess Opening Night on New Year’s Eve does okay, but it doesn’t really come that close). Anyone and everyone dresses up in costumes of all kinds, descends on Midtown, Downtown and Bricktown and watches the myriad of Halloween floats and ridiculous revelers. It truly is where the freaks come out to play.
Check out this video. This guy is amazing. I appreciate the art of good impressions, mainly because – as “friends” from my former acting group would tell you – I’m horrible at them. My “pirate” is my “cowboy” is my “surfer dude”. It’s tragic, really.
Here’s how to do it right.
I’ve decided I like non-fiction way more than fiction. Which, when I think about it, is pretty strange — I was the kid in elementary school who had the most Accelerated Reader points out of everyone else in the grade, received the certificate in front of the entire school, and was proud of it. Yep. That kid.
Here are my favorite albums of 2010. Note: I know I haven’t begun to cover all the great albums of this year. These are just my favorites that I’ve listened to. This is my first time I’ve made a list of this kind. Let me know if you agree/disagree.
20. My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy – Kanye West
19. Crazy For You – Best Coast
18. Stay Gold – Jacob Fred Jazz Odyssey
17. Brothers – The Black Keys
16. Gorilla Manor – Local Natives
15. Girl Talk – All Day