I don’t dream about Michael Jackson as often as I’d like, so when I do, my dreams tend to be particularly memorable and meaningful.
As was the case last night.
I dreamt that Michael visited my hometown. Prior to his visit, I was responsible for hanging a sign that said, “Michael Jackson: Turn Left” (strangely, I have no recollection of hanging said sign during my dream).
Suddenly--and I’m very grateful for this part--my best friend Cristy appeared beside me. While I’m pretty sure she was preoccupied with trying on hundreds of pairs of goggles (?!), she seemed just as excited to meet Michael as I was.
When he finally arrived, crowds gathered around our idol and--somehow--I waited patiently for Michael to make his way to me.
When he did, he and I made eye contact and exchanged smiles. I also happened to notice how his hands formed fists at his sides; I took those fists, put my hands atop them and I held those fists in front of his chest with all my might, gently shaking them as I told him over and over again how much I loved him. And I meant it. And I knew he could tell that I meant it.
I don’t think I’ve ever told anyone “I love you” with that much force, enthusiasm, and honesty. It was incredible.
Michael kept smiling and nodding his head, and then suggested that perhaps I could meet him backstage later that evening. I was thrilled.
By the time he walked away, I told Cristy that I couldn’t believe that I didn’t get a photo with him, but she and I managed to sneak a photo of him walking away. By that time, he was trekking through snow up to his shoulders with the help of his bodyguard (and wouldn’t you know that his bodyguard was Robin Williams!). Michael continued to greet fans by shaking their hands and shyly nodding as they complimented him. Before he disappeared into the snow, he turned around and looked at me and I looked at him.
And that was it.
That whole “I love you” scene--the part where I’m repeating those words over and over and over--is a scene that reminds me that outside of my dreams, Michael has taught me to love, love, love. I not only love him, but music, nature, art . . . everything in life that he loved, too.
Genuwine’s “Pony” is a helluva sexy song.
It’s the “Let’s Get It On” of the 1990s. It’s the song that my friends and I listened to on repeat in high school, when our hormones raged like cage fighters on fire. “Pony”--in all its metaphoric glory--was the song that made sex seem sexy.
Sex as a theme appears so often in pop/rap music today that you would think that artists aren’t permitted to sign recording contracts without first agreeing to a very specific provision statement, which maintains that at least 65 percent of the songs they write must contain sexual innuendos. Or perhaps no innuendos at all (I’m pointing my pointer finger at Ms. “S&M” Rihanna, you “whips and chains” lover you!).
While there are a lot of sexy sex songs out there--I put Usher’s “Love in This Club” and Flo Rida’s “Right ‘Round” among them--it is very difficult to achieve the level of ear-popping, heart-throbbing sensuality that Genuwine accomplished on “Pony.” That song is smooth. It’s voluptuous. It’s melted chocolate poured on your outstretched tongue.
Heads up, folks: out of left field comes the fly ball that is Miguel’s “Adorn.”
This song begins with a dreamy, subtle intro that sounds completely unsuspecting. But damn, by the time the meticulous beat and Miguel’s vocals evaporate into your ears and enter your bloodstream, you best be prepared to find yourself the nearest makeshift fan (I would recommend the latest issue of Rolling Stone, where you can later read about Miguel’s sudden rise to stardom).
While it may not have the bouncy energy of “Pony,” “Adorn” is one of those “lay you down and love you right” songs that all women can appreciate. If this song was a man, he would have full lips. Silk in his shoes. And, hopefully, a belt that’s easy to unbuckle.
To Genuwine and Miguel I must say: thank you for keeping my hormones in check.
One of my favorite perks of being a correspondent for two local newspapers is the opportunity to receive press passes when bands and celebrities come to town.
One of my first press passes was for a Lynyrd Skynyrd show, and that press pass gave me the best seats in the house for the first two or three songs (typically, press passes only give you so much time to make other fans super jealous). I felt like a million bucks as I took photo upon photo of a band that my dad listened to throughout my childhood. I like them too, of course, so that press pass was more than just an "I'm on the job" sticker; it was a golden ticket for a fifteen-minute thrill.
Tonight was no different. When I was little, I remember my mom and aunts watching The Cosby Show on a regular basis. And there I was this evening, watching Bill Cosby--albeit an older Bill Cosby--cracking jokes in front of a nearly sold-out audience. It took me back to the living rooms in which I played with my sister and cousins. I can still see those TV screens and hear his voice coming through them. It was like he never went away.
And he really didn't. Not at all. You can bet that Bill Cosby still makes everyone sitting in their seats touch their heads to their knees in laughter.
Again, what a thrill.
Here are two photos that I took tonight; the first was taken from the side of the stage and the second from front row (one of my favorite shots):
Here's to Bill Cosby: a legendary comedian who has charmed America for decades.
The spine caught my eye.
I pulled the book from the bookshelf and examined the cover. The designs were intricate, the pages worn. That old book smell lingered up and into my nostrils as I flipped through the pages enthusiastically yet gently.
The copyright date was missing, but an introduction by the publisher was signed with the year: 1891.
So there I was, standing in the corner of my favorite bookstore, unable to put down a book that contained famous short stories by an author whom I very much respect.
But the book itself--gosh, the book itself--the book itself was a story. Where had it been since its publication date in 1891? Whose eyes wandered upon the pages? How did the book get there--who passed it on and who passed it down? These are all questions that one must ask when holding an old book.
It’s a glorious experience, really. An old book is time turned tangible.
When I took the book to the checkout counter, the bookstore owner placed a dab of lotion on a soft cloth and showed me how to make the cover more becoming.
“It won’t hurt it,” she said, as I watched her rub the surface with care before lifting up the cloth and showing it to me. “See how much dirt is on there?”
But I didn’t mind the dirt. It seemed natural. It seemed as though it had been there forever.
The beauty of books is that they have long lifespans. Think about it: old books have survived wars and outlived thousands of people. Maybe the pages are earmarked and yellowed, and maybe the spine is dented or the inside page missing . . . but smell them. Hold them. Love them. Appreciate them. They’ve traveled a long way just to get to you.
Fiction, poetry, and all that good stuff . . .