Three hundred and fifty-three

Music photography

One of the reoccurring characters in my blog is Big Brother Bass (aka Mr. Jason O’Brien).  He taught me to play the double bass, he was one of my dates during date month where we went to an amazing concert together, he shared his first kiss story with us in September, and he is one of my very good friends.  Ms. Rhonda Stakich has been a huge supporter and a great friend throughout this past year as well.  They are also both amazingly talented musicians.

Which brings me to my photos for today.  Last night Rhonda played her beautiful folk jazz music at the famous Toronto jazz bar, The Rex.  She was accompanied by Jason on the bass and Tim Shia on the drums.

What I love about digital cameras is I can take a hundred photos to find the perfect ones.  Capturing the emotion and song of a musician in a still image is difficult.  There’s something so gratifying when you get the right shot, though.  I hope I did them justice in the following photos:

“Ms. Rhonda Stakich and Big Brother Bass”

Rhonda Stakich and Jason O'Brien, The Rex, February 15, 2012

Rhonda Stakich and Jason O'Brien, The Rex, February 15, 2012

Rhonda Stakich, The Rex, February 15, 2012

Jason O'Brien, The Rex, February 15, 2012

Go to Rhonda’s My Space page to hear some of her wonderful music.  She’s going to be big very soon, so then you can say you “knew her when”.  And click here for the Elastocitizens My Space – one of Jason’s many other projects (you can read about more of his work on the other posts).

One hundred and fifty-two

The things I missed this month

For my second to last day of only online shopping month, here are a few topics I didn’t get a chance to talk about but want to mention:


As the top purchase of online goods according to Nielsen research, books are an easy thing to buy online that you rarely would need right away, are heavy to carry so easy to have shipped to you, and so simple to purchase online.  Chapters Indigo and Amazon are two websites I have used to buy books (and many other things in the case of Amazon) that are fantastic.  You can either buy them new and (if you spend a certain amount of money) get free shipping, or buy them used for a fraction of the price, but have to pay for shipping.  You can sample the books and read some of pages to get an idea of whether you are interested in purchasing the whole book.  They even suggest other books you might enjoy.


I use iTunes to download music as I’m a Mac user, but there are also a lot of other places online to download music from. offers cheap mp3 downloads.  Limewire, a peer-to-peer file sharing system like Napster was when it first came out, used to be a way to get music for cheap, but is now under a court order to stop distributing the software because of unauthorized sharing of copyrighted works.  Napster is now a subscription-based music-buying software owned by the Best Buy company and only works with a PC.

Movies and television

More and more people are buying movies and tv online, instead of going to the video store or buying cable.  There are no commercials and you can choose what shows you want to see, instead of flipping channels through a bunch of crap.  You can stream a lot of things for free online with a time limit.  Or join Netflix  or megavideo to name a few subscription-based streaming sites.  You can also stream television from most channels’ websites, but you do have to watch the commercials.

VISA gift card

My friend mentioned this to me today.  It would have been a bit of a cheat, but I could have ordered a VISA gift card online and used it for things like transportation costs and emergency beers.  Too late now, but good to know for future gift giving.

Tomorrow I recap the month, talk about what I learned and my monthly Top Ten list!

Day fifty-three

The music concert

I love live music.  You can really tell a lot about where the song comes from by listening to a band perform it live.  I love the atmosphere of having a room full of people really listening and enjoying the music.  I love discovering new opening bands I’ve never heard of and buying their album.  Just like I talked about yesterday regarding the theatre, a concert’s success is influenced by the audience.  The vibe of the audience can make a concert great or can make it dull, completely separate from the music that is being played.

Joan As Police Woman at the Drake Underground, April 21st 2011. Taken by my friend Clark Kim on his phone.

Yesterday I went to see Joan As Police Woman at the Drake Underground, a tiny basement venue on the west side of Toronto (maximum capacity 150 people, but there were less than that last night).  I took three friends who had never heard her music and we stood at the very front.  I’m pretty sure the band was stoned – it was interesting to watch how talented they are as musicians that the sound came out so beautifully when they looked like they were out of their minds (or just really tired)!  That all adds to the atmosphere of a concert.  And I love the funny anecdotes told by musicians.

I met with Joan at the end of the performance and had her sign my cd cover.  She was lovely.  All three of my friends really enjoyed the music and two of them also bought her newest cd and had her sign their copy.  Without coming to the concert and having experienced the music live, I’m not sure either of them would have bought her cd.

Signed Joan As Police Woman cd

In an interview on You Tube about her new album The Deep Field (watch interview here), Joan talks about how she never allows a song to get recorded unless every single word is exactly right.  It’s interesting to see that precision versus the fluidity of the concert.  That’s why I love live music – it adds an extra visual and emotional layer to an already beautiful sound.

A couple of Joan As Police Woman live-in-concert (amateur) videos:

Tonight I’m off to dance some salsa.  More on that tomorrow…