Wednesday, October 5, 2011

what we're working on wednesday.

here's a little of what we're working on this wednesday.  a new, as of yet untitled song, inspired by the feelings captured in the images below.

we came upon our meeting place while sleeping
ashes to ashes, memories covered in rust
it's hard to feel you're permanent
living in a house made of dust

it wasn't right but it wasn't wrong
sometimes it's hard to find where you belong
but i'll take the greenline home
and together we can stumble along

it was the bones of something wonderful
that never got to see the break of day
every moment without you
i feel myself slip further away

as the black clouds start to gather
i will this ancient love of ours to die
but then you take my hand
tonight i will sleep well and you are why

it wasn't right but it wasn't wrong
life made us tired, our hearts aren't strong
but i'll take the greenline home
and together we can stumble along

screencaps found here.  art found here, here, here, and here.
all lyrics by spinner's end.

Friday, September 30, 2011

speak to me: remembering amy.

i finally watched the video for tony bennett's new duet with amy winehouse. until a few hours ago, i did not even know this was a thing that had happened. this song "body and soul" was the last song amy winehouse recorded before she died. i've always been a big fan of amy winehouse's voice (back to black is one of my favorite pop albums of all time) and i was devastated when i heard the terrible news. i have a few friends that have gone down that same dark road so the news was personal, in a way, for me as well. addiction is a terrible monster that steals people away from themselves and once you've seen its teeth, you are never quite the same. i discovered the video of this beautiful song after watching jon stewart's interview with tony bennett on the daily show, promoting his new album Duets II. bennett said that even during the recording of this song, "she knew that she was in a lot of trouble, that she wasn't going to live."  however, he had nothing but lovely things to say about working with her. he said that in 70 years of working in the music business, amy is one of the few people who "sings right." he said that she was a true jazz singer and that they bonded over a shared love of dinah washington. watching this video, i was deeply moved. i think it's really beautiful that her last music video has no special effects, no crazy sets or costumes, no storyline.  it's just tony and amy, singing, laughing, and having a good time together.

my heart is sad and lonely
for you i sigh, for you, dear only
why haven't you seen it, i'm all for you

i spend my days in longing
and wondering why it's me you're wronging
i tell you, i mean it, i'm all for you
body and soul

i can't believe it, it's hard to conceive it
that you'd turn away romance
are you pretending, it looks like the ending
unless i could have one more chance to prove dear
my life, a wreck you're making
you know i'm yours for just the taking
i'd gladly surrender myself to you
body and soul.

ps: to lighten the mood a little (and to prove to any skeptics that she DOES, in fact, have an incredible voice), i wanted to share another single off of Duets II, the lady is a tramp by tony bennett and lady gaga.  yup.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

ravenclaw pride.

so as you all know, i am obsessed with harry potter.  so naturally when j.k. rowling announced pottermore, an interactive way to explore the books online, i jumped at the opportunity to join the beta group and get early access.  (some of you who haven't read the books may not understand why a grown ass woman such as myself would be so invested in a silly online game, but the opportunity to read previously unreleased content about the world of harry potter is something i really can't turn down.  read the books, you'll see.)  this weekend my welcome email finally came!  i got to sign in, explore the new content, buy my wand at ollivanders, and most importantly - get sorted into my house.  which house you belong to has always been a big topic of discussion among potter fans, but i have never been able to tell if i am more of a ravenclaw or a gryffindor.  this 7 question quiz is the definitive quiz, crafted by j.k. rowling herself, and i was super excited to see where i would end up.  as it turns out, i'm a ravenclaw!  i was so proud to be sorted into the house known for their intelligence, creativity, and eccentricity.  (luna lovegood is also my favorite harry potter character, and i am thrilled to be in the same house as her.)  ryan was also sorted into ravenclaw as well, so i like to think that even if we went to hogwarts, we still would have ended up together.  ;)  after reading the official description and history of the house, i found myself inspired to show some house spirit!  the ravenclaw colors are navy blue and gold and the symbol is a raven, so i decided to style up a dream outfit inspired by those themes that i might wear to show my pride.  what do you think?

all items found on

Friday, September 23, 2011

eurydice reflections.

as of tomorrow (in north america), autumn is officially upon us.  when i was younger summer was my favorite season, for obvious reasons - no school, vacations to the jersey shore, warm weather to ride my bike in, summer clothes, endless daylight savings sun, fireworks, and enough barbecue to stuff me silly.  however, now that i'm older and a few years out of college i'm finding that the fall may in fact be my favorite season.  without a summer vacation or school year to break things up i find myself really enjoying the change of the seasons.  this summer was brutally hot for many places in the us and i am so thrilled to finally feel comfortable outside again (and to break out my fall wardrobe).

i'm not sad to see this summer go, but i must say it was a pretty amazing time for me and ryan.  we started this blog, wrote some new songs, collaborated with visionary director (and close friend) brandon monokian on 3 plays for princeton public library's "page to stage" series, and we booked and played our first official show as spinner's end.  one of my fondest memories of this summer was working on the musical score we composed for brandon's production of eurydice by sarah ruhl for "page to stage."  brandon recently posted a youtube video of ryan and me (and our beautiful friend and collaborator, the very talented amanda ada guzman) workshopping a scene from eurydice.  since i've been asked to post more songs and videos, i thought you might want to check it out!

this was taken at our first or second rehearsal, and the songs definitely grew and changed a bit from what you see here before our actual performance.  this was basically a rough walk-through of our first scene in the play.  if you haven't read my earlier post about the play, ryan and i took the words of 3 characters called the "stones" and combined them, unedited and unabridged, as lyrics.  together, ryan, the keyboard, and i became the stones, and the script became a libretto of sorts.  each song was written around the words that we were given by the playwright, but the music is entirely original.  in fact, some of the melodies and music found in this video has been extrapolated and transformed into a new song, with original lyrics, that ryan and i just finished writing tonight!  this experience is one that i know i will always cherish, not only for the opportunity to write new music, but as the first of many future collaborations with brandon and amanda.

so what were some of your favorite memories from this past summer?  are you sad to see it go or glad to welcome the fall?

Friday, September 16, 2011

project runway: modcloth?

so i don't know about you all, but ryan and i are obsessed with the current season of project runway.  i have always loved the show, but i've never been so invested in a cast before.  last night's episode was another great one and the top three looks from viktor, anya, and josh mckinley were all gorgeous.  though josh's look was the winner for the evening, viktor's look was the one to really set my heart aflutter.  then i realized why.  i'm sure you've all seen modcloth's new lookbook for their going places collection by now, and if you haven't you should really check it out.  i realized that the "effortless interview" look may as well be the ready to wear version of viktor's look.  brilliant!  finally a project runway look that i can recreate myself.  so what do you ladies think?  was viktor channeling modcloth or what?

viktor's look:

modcloth's "effortless interview" look:

i'm totally inspired by both outfits!  the silhouette of the skirt is super flattering for nearly any body type.  it's sophisticated but fun, and could easily be dressed down with a casual tank and some flats.  and i am in love with this color combo.. the navy and goldenrod are totally retro, but the sleek gray keeps it modern.  in fact, i may have been subconsciously channeling both looks myself, as i'm wearing a pair of goldenrod tights today!  so what do you think?  are you totally loving this look for fall?

Thursday, September 15, 2011

speak to me: wedding bells.

no, not for me and ryan, silly.  that would be ridiculous, we're way too young.  on sunday, ryan's cousin becci married her long time boyfriend ian!  they are pretty badass (as evidenced by becci's styling of her wedding dress below) and their wedding definitely had an unofficial old school punk theme.  after a sweet & simple ceremony outdoors among the fruit trees, we headed inside for one of the most fun & unconventional receptions i've ever attended.  the friend of theirs who officiated the ceremony was also the lead singer of the band that played the reception.  he had this total rancid/mighty mighty bosstones throaty punk voice and silly personality and they covered many punk and rock classics.  but for this week's speak to me post, i was inspired by the song that the groom ian sang as a surprise gift to his new bride during the reception.  i present to you "ring of fire " as played by social distortion .  **all photos in this post taken by ryan's brilliant mother, kat from photography by sky**

love is a burning thing
and it makes a fiery ring
bound by wild desire
i fell into a ring of fire

i fell into a burning ring of fire
it went down, down, down and the flames went higher
and it burns, burns, burns
that ring of fire, that ring of fire

the taste of love is sweet
when hearts like ours meet
i fell for you like a child
oh, but the fire went wild

i fell into a burning ring of fire
it went down, down, down and the flames went higher
and it burns, burns, burns
that ring of fire, that ring of fire

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

our first show!

we did it!  spinner's end has officially played our first real show.  we would like to thank field of creams cafe in mahwah, nj for having us on friday, it was really fun!  we were the only band playing that evening so we got to play for almost two hours, much longer than i've ever played before.
 i've been performing on stage for many years as an actress and (when i was younger) a dancer, but there's definitely something different about playing live music.  there is no character to play, no story to advance, no costumes, or sets, or disguises to hide behind.  the focus is just on me and ryan in that moment.  i think that's why i love to play music.  after years of pretending to be other people, music is the one place i'm forced to be nothing but true to myself. writing songs with the person i love, taking the music he gives me and blending it with my melodies and notebook scribbled words, is a very personal thing and singing them live in front of other people is a little bit scary, a little bit exhilarating, and very freeing.

the lovely owners of field of creams have asked us to come back and play some time in october!  we also just booked a spa re-launch party on the 23rd and are playing a fundraising event to support victims of domestic violence on october 13th, so our calendar is actually starting to fill up!  make sure to check our "upcoming shows" page for all the details.  my uncle dennis is currently in the process of building a private recording studio in his attic that should be ready for use in about a month or so.  once it's up and running ryan and i will actually be able to record our songs and share them with you all on the blog!  i just know you're all dying to get your hands on the first spinner's end album.. ;P
cheers!  xx ali.