Please join us in South Park on Saturday, February 29 for this historic leap year showcase! Our next community gathering will explore various definitions of and experiences with love. Our host Bonnie Nicholls will kick off the night, followed by a songwriters round featuring Astra Kelly and Carissa Schroeder. We will also showcase art by Barbara Rutherford. Advanced tickets are $10 online. ($12 at door if showcase doesn't sell out). All funds go directly toward our performing members. 5pm Doors, 6pm Music. Please feel free to byo snack/drink to share!
Even though there was no official Lady Brain Presents community gathering this month, some of us decided to gather together at Bad Ass Coffee in Rancho Penasquitos to support Lady Brain Collective member and open mic co-host Naiomi. It was awesome and inspiring to be in a room with so many creative people expressing themselves in so many different ways. We'll definitely be back!
While most of our member workshops are educational in nature, we decided to switch things up for February with an outdoor meetup that is nature in nature. So meta, we know. We've also received a few requests from freelancing members with less traditional work schedules to hold a member event during the weekdays, so hopefully we will see some new faces at this mid-day event!
Members, please join us on Tuesday, February 4 at 10am for our first ever group hike! The location is posted in the new online Member Toolbox and in our private Facebook group. Please RSVP so we know how many folks to wait for at the trailhead!
If you're a San Diego-based creative womxn interested in participating in this meetup, we'd love to have you! Please register to join Lady Brain Collective here!
Thanks to everyone who attended the first Lady Brain Collective member workshop of the year at the IDEA1 Idea Box in East Village. To start, we brainstormed and strategized upcoming events and workshops to offer to the collective and the community in 2020.
Next, we spent some time discussing our intentions for the new year. Rather than focus too much on external goals, we talked about internal values, mindset, limiting beliefs, and more. We also explored the idea of removing obstacles within the realm of our control and unburdening ourselves of the ones that are not.
Finally, we finished with every creative dreamer's favorite activity of the new year: vision boards! So much inspiration. So many glue sticks.
Welcome to Boss Ladies, the review column written by members for members! To usher in our first review of 2020, Lizzie Wann gives us her take on 20 Years Here, the latest release from Cathryn Beeks.
Full disclosure: I love Cathryn Beeks. I’ve been friends with Beeks almost as long as she was in San Diego. We’ve both since moved (me in May, she in September) to be with family, but San Diego will always have a piece of our hearts and will always be considered a home away from home.
The latest musical offering from Beeks is not only a testament to her undeniable force in the San Diego music scene but is also replete with wonderful songs, podcasts, special shows, compilations, stories, photos, recipes, and much more. Because the project itself is separated into two parts, I’ll follow suit.
20 Years Here
This collection of 7 songs is Beeks's self-proclaimed “goodbye note” to San Diego. And it’s lovely. These songs represent Beeks completely, firmly planting her amongst the great songwriters and musicians in town. Included with each song is the story behind the song as well as their lyrics. She really pours herself into her songs, using them to express all she’s feeling.
To kick off the album, she revisits an old tune, “Begin Again,” that she wrote in 2001 with then-bandmate, Clint Welch. It was originally written about leaving Cleveland to move to San Diego, so it’s a perfect way to bookend this time with a fresh recording. The song ponders the power we have within ourselves to start over.
Next up is “Burning Star” with exceptionally lush production and vocal layering. The first verse examines her newfound depression with the resilient answer of, “You’ll never break me.” The second verse pays tribute to the relationship of her friends Carina Wheatley and Jeffrey Joe Morin, and the third verse anthropomorphizes “life” as a woman who is full of joy and who also destroys. Again, the hopeful and perseverant refrain of “You’ll never break me” closes the song.
“Daylight,” track 3, is a heavy rocker that pays tribute to music itself, as well as performing and songwriting. Beeks's voice sounds as awesome with rock guitar as it does with ukulele or acoustic guitar. Her style and range suits many genres.
Track 4, “Framed,” uses the metaphor of a stick thrown into a river as dreams and wishes that may or may not manifest or surface. I just love it. Backed by the amazing Back to the Garden on this tune, it’s a standout.
“Hey Desert” is the song she wrote when she and her husband, Jon Edwards, decided to move back to the high desert to be with her parents. Each verse lovingly speaks to the important people in her life – her mother, father, and husband, and finally speaks to the desert itself. This song is especially poignant now, as she lost her father in December. You can tell she means every word she sings, which is sometimes difficult to capture, but in the masterful hands of Jeff Berkley, it’s a guarantee.
Track 6, “Small Town,” is a clever social commentary about how friends and family sometimes end up on different sides and how sometimes the clash proves too much to overcome. It’s a plaintive and effective song that begs people to please evolve because “we’ve got problems to solve.”
The final song, “20 Years Here,” is a delightful autobiographical song that recaps her time in San Diego from meeting her husband, to the parties they hosted at their house(s). But in the 2nd verse she turns the song, as she does with nearly every project she’s ever created, produced, or otherwise been a part of, to the musicians she’s met, promoted, and loved. She sings:
this city is beautiful
but it's all about you, you know
All of your music, I ain’t gonna lose it
taking you all along, I’m gonna share your songs
20 years here I know most of the words to your songs
20 years here and I love to sing along
(I loved the callback to her song, “You Know,” from her album Desert Music!) The song finishes with letting it go and acknowledging the love that fills her up. It’s a beautiful ending to a wonderful collection of personal, meaningful, and well-penned songs from the one and only Cathyrn Beeks.
Beeks chose to release 20 Years Here on a USB drive. She says, “Since there was plenty of room I included every song I’ve ever recorded plus a bunch of other stuff, too. It’s a “time capsule” of my life in San Diego. So many memories are stuffed on this stick, a few decades of a life I am proud of and grateful for.”
This ‘bonus stuff,’ dear readers, is gold!
Like with the songs on 20 Years Here, Beeks took the time to write forwards for each file that details each step of her musical journey. You get all three The Ordeal albums: Desert Music, Mood Swing, and Life, Love, the End. You also get albums from other projects (8ball RACK, The Ghandi Method, and Garbo). There’s an album she made with Josquin Des Pres for potential TV and film placements. Plus there’s a file of “Random Songs” with covers, one-off recordings, and more. But that’s not all.
There’s a Listen Local Memories file, and even if this file was the only other thing on this USB, it would be worth your hard-earned cash. Hell, even just the forward to this file is worthy of San Diego’s musical archives as she gives an overview of the 16 years she put in to Listen Local San Diego. But the items in the file are equally spectacular: Celebrating Our Sisters calendar and compilation, Find Your Voice compilation, Listen Local podcasts (from 2005 – a woman ahead of her time!), Gillian Welch tribute show, Listen Local Cooks cookbooks and compilations (2006 & 2011), 4 episodes of Listen Local Lounge at Berkley Sound, and 4 episodes of Production Interruption.
Finally, there are 5 written stories by Beeks and a file of band photos. She also provides a list of links to videos, more podcasts, other special audio shows, and Facebook groups.
Of the entire collection, Beeks says, “Once I started compiling it all I realized all of the cool stuff I'd accomplished over the last two decades and how much amazing music had been and was being made in San Diego. I am so proud to have had a hand in helping to share that music.”
The legacy Cathryn Beeks created in San Diego is one we should honor and cherish. And the best way to do that is to own it. Be sure to get your hands on this amazing time capsule as well as her new songs. You won’t regret it.
Lady Brain Collective is excited to kick off 2020 with our first member workshop of the year on Sunday, January 5 at a private location in downtown San Diego's East Village neighborhood from 11am-2pm. We'll briefly map out some important dates and projects for Lady Brain Presents and spend the rest of the time on strategizing personal and professional goals and intentions for the year.
If you're a vision boardy person, we'll provide some paper, magazines, scissors, etc. Feel free to bring anything that will help you get organized and inspired such as planners, journals, laptops, etc. You can also bring a snack/drink to share, but it is not required.
Workshops are open and free to Lady Brain Collective members. If you are a San Diego-based womxn creative looking for resources and support in physical and digital spaces, please consider joining the collective!
A new year and a new decade are just around the corner, and Lady Brain Collective members are already working hard to bring you fun live events throughout San Diego. Mark your calendars and go support womxn creators in your community!
Thursday, January 9 - Plunderbund at Amplified Backstage Beer Lounge in Pacific Beach
Join Lady Brain Collective member Lisa Brackmann and her Plunderbund bandmates for free live music and the freshest craft beer inches away from the Pacific Ocean! 7-9pm. More info
Friday, January 10 - Naiomi Sounds Co-Hosts Open Mic at Bad Ass Coffee in Rancho Penasquitos
A few Lady Brain Collective members will be heading out to the Bad Ass Coffee open mic, which is held every other Friday and co-hosted by member Naiomi Sounds. Sign-ups at 6pm, event runs from 6:30-8:30pm. More info
Saturday, January 11 - Lizzie Wann at Meraki Cafe in University Heights
Start the year off with some poetry! Enjoy social time with fellow poets starting at 5:30pm. Lizzie Wann's feature starts at 6pm followed by an open mic. The reading will be held inside, but wear layers, as it might prove chilly nevertheless. No Cover. More info
Sunday, January 12 - Lindsay White at Women's March San Diego Wine Mixer in Private La Jolla Residence
Lindsay White is back for a performance at the third annual Women's March Wine Mixer. All proceeds from this fundraising event go toward the 2020 Women's March on January 18. More info
Thursday, January 16 - Marie Haddad at Belly Up in Solana Beach
Marie Haddad will play a solo set opening for Midge Ure (Ultravox) during his acoustic duo tour stop at Belly Up. 7pm, $25. More info
Saturday, January 18 - Women's March San Diego at Waterfront Park San Diego
Be on the lookout for several Lady Brain Collective members, including Veronica May and Julia Sage, performing at the 4th Annual Women's March San Diego. Come early for the music and march with us! Music starts at 10am, march begins at noon. More info
Thursday, Jan. 23 - Astra Kelly at The Riviera Supper Club in La Mesa
DIY steakhouse, crafty cocktails, loungy hang, and live music? Yes, please! Astra Kelly plays two sets of her originals and unique artist tributes, featuring Tony Econom on drums, from 8-10:30pm. No Cover. More info
Thursday, January 23 - Golden Howl at Music Box in Little Italy
Golden Howl hits the Music Box stage with a stellar line up of local bands: Aviator Stash, MDRN HSTRY, The Frets, and Coral Bells. Doors at 6:30pm, 21+. Claim as many free tickets as you want via email, or DM on social media.
Attention Business Owners: Advertise Your Company on the Brain Candy Blog!
Rather than spend your advertising dollars on sponsored Facebook/Instagram ads and seemingly fake engagement, our advertising partnership offers genuine organic engagement increases your company's visibility as well as its reputation for supporting the community and empowering local womxn creatives. More info
Thanks to all who performed, volunteered, donated and/or attended our final community gathering of the year! We decked the halls, our musical guests were FIRE, we raffled off nearly $2k in gifts (which allowed us to almost double the venue's guarantee and pay our performers more), and we donated a car-full of winter clothing and blankets to our community's former foster youth experiencing homelessness. That is how it's done, fam!
Here's a short video recap of the fun:
And here are a few photos from Vanessa Dubois of XPOSD Photography. For the full album, visit our Facebook page!
Welcome to Boss Ladies, the review column written by members for members! In this special holiday edition, Carissa Schroeder reviews “Just a Sad Xmas," new from Tori Roze and The Hot Mess.
You’re at a bar – the kind that is still “cash only” – the kind where the bartender’s a certified asshole unless you’re a regular. Green glitter naugahyde covers the booths along the wall; it’s December and gobs of tinsel wind around the ceiling, competing for attention with the disco ball, eternally spinning over the black and white checkered dance floor. You swill your Wild Turkey old-fashioned and mash the bright red maraschino cherry and orange wedge together in the bottom of your rocks glass.
Now, imagine a Christmas song coming on the jukebox. But not the jolly, saccharine, Hallmark kind. This kind of Christmas song – a sad and soulful one – warms you like the whiskey, from the inside out. It’s noisy, it’s busy, and it’s got some stank on it. The fat bass lines (played by Harley Magsino) and the criss-crossing vocal riffs (cue guest artist Nina Leilani Deering) create the perfect holiday storm.
That’s exactly where Tori Roze and The Hot Mess take me with their version of 1969’s lost ode to the holidays, “Just a Sad Xmas.” If you’re already a fan of Roze, you won’t be disappointed. (If you’re not already a fan, it’s time
to catch up). She shows up on the track with nothing less than her signature style of vocals – soulful, free-flowing, expectation-bending, and seemingly effortless. Deering executes the backing vocals just as they should be – with the intentionality of a lead vocal but the timbre and intensity of a supporting part. Her tone choices are the perfect complement to Tori’s.
The cover is an underground cut, originally written by Ida Sands of The Soul Duo, about getting dumped right in the middle of the holidays (ouch). Brought back to life with a respect for the genre, thanks to Rashaad Graham’s clean and simple drumming and Alan Sanderson’s production style, the track remains closely related to the original while fitting into the Hot Mess setlist seamlessly. Props to the band, overall, for having the discipline (and musical maturity) to not overplay. Johnny Alexander achieved the ideal guitar tone for the song, making really
tasteful choices in his playing. How the hell Deering was able to pull off an accordion track in a song that could easily be on the soundtrack for a holiday themed installment of the Shaft franchise, I’ll never know. But it works.
The traditional, quoted Christmas lyrics (such as “Jingle Bells”) sprinkled through the song set the scene for us. The protagonist of the song is lamenting, “why can’t loneliness let me be” while being physically surrounded by the joy of the season. About halfway through the song, the tone changes from wallowing in the misfortune of the circumstances, to looking forward to a “New Year’s resolution” to reunite the love affair.
The listener never gets to know if the couple in question does, in fact, reunite – but you can absolutely put yourself in the shoes of someone, turning the facts over and over in their mind, trying to make sense of the juxtaposition of “green, red and blue (…) lights and décor” and a mood that is “grim, gray, and black.”
Overall, this is a solid pull from the Hot Mess crew. If you, yourself, were experiencing a less than joyful holiday season (perhaps drinking alone at a dive bar), this would be the kind of song that would get you swaying on your stool – or maybe even up on the dance floor. With this kind of late sixties soul laying the foundation for the sonic landscape, you might even snag yourself a new lover. This thing’s got some ass on it.
Support by downloading “Just a Sad Xmas” on iTunes on or after December 7.
Thanks to friends at the San Diego Troubadour for interviewing Lady Brain Presents founder/organizer Lindsay White about the collective's upcoming Holiday Party and Clothing Drive! Read the full interview here, and please join us on December 8 at The Holding Company!
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