I was 14 when I was introduced to Ani DiFranco. I was a Freshman. She was a young, 19 year old independant artist from one city over to the West trying to make it. She was head-shaved like Sinead O'Connor in those days (1990). She was playing at Milestones, a jazz club downtown. And since we were all young aspiring artists at School of the Arts, making really randomly assorted mix tapes of XTC, and early REM, B52's and Indigo Girls (before people knew them) we were happy to support non mainstream musicians as often as we could. So Maika and I went. We paid $5 for the cover charge on a Wednesday evening and went in and found ourselves, 7 - 10 other people and Ani on a 6" raised platform stage backdropped by a brick wall with her guitar. She sung "Both Hands Now" and a few others from her first tape and recited some poetry and she was done about an hour and a half later. I was moved and loved her and didn't stop listening to that low-budget tape with her and her shaved-headed self on the front for all of High School.

I just got "Reprieve" and can't stop listening to it... again. I remember a lot of the music that I used to listen to in the dark with incense burning and 20 pages of journaling conquered in the early 90's had a lot of heavy, melodic bass line to it (Sting's early solo work and Michael Hedges particularly) and just so chill. I think that's why I'm connecting with this (now) CD (no more "tape") so much. It brings me back to a time I've been missing desperately in my life lately; a very creative time in school with freaks of creative people. People that were walking down the hall in costumes they were trying out for their student directed play, or tapping their way to the drinking fountain from dance class; with people that are now in movies and on broadway, and making incredible works of art... still... because they were, too, back then when we were in printmaking and photography. I really miss High School. I miss the life of creativity I lived in for 6 years (Middle School too).

Ani's got me thinking about it again. She's bringing me home to Western New York. It's almost more that I can handle sometimes. The midwest is difficult on days like this. Unfortunately, if I continue listening to Ani I can expect many more days like this.


Croatiaforever said...

Ahhh, my friend your words and feelings I relate to in a similar way with certain music. I am reminded of a Better than Ezra song called Cryin in the Sun (I think). There is a line in the lyric that goes something like this "there's a person, place or time, that brings you back and makes you feel alive". I believe we can capture that once again.

Anonymous said...

Jennifer Swift, it's Pamela Terry, one of your peasant girls from IWU! Forgive me, Jen, but this comment is not entirely related to your post, but I had to comment once I found your blog.

I always knew you were a kindred spirit, but this is wild. I am living in Rochester, NY, almost done with my master's from Eastman. I'm doing Youth Ministry at Twelve Corners Presbyterian Church in Brighton and I live on Erion Crescent, the small one way street right by SOTA. 'Found Magazine' is one of my favorite things (one of the compilations is on the coffee table as I type) and the founder, Davy Rothbart, is a good friend of a friend. I helped promote their last Rochester show and spent some time with the crew...such a riot. Did I mention I have a crush on Ira Glass and stream 'This American Life' for fun? I was so excited when iTunes started carrying the shows. Anne Lamott is in my list of 'top 5 people to meet in my lifetime' (just read 'Plan B' again). I own all of David Sedaris' books. Sojourners is in my Bookmarks toolbar.

I'm so excited to check out all of your other links and to discover things I know I'll love. Things like the Little Theatre (which is now quite the trendsetter for independent and foreign film distribution), Park Ave., and the Dryden.

Life is crazy, isn't it? I remember being so drawn to you, being fascinated by your persona and interests and inspired by your organic faith. As strange as it sounds, I feel as though Rochester appealed to me in the same way. Kindred spirits...you and me and Rochester, NY...

Jenn Swift said...

PAM TERRY!!! How do I get a hold of you!? I LOVE that you're living there! I'm kind of freaking out right now. Rochester is the BEST CITY IN THE WORLD!!! e-mail me! jlswift@hotmail.com

Andrew said...