Music Over Money

Think about the amount of money you spent on your last concert ticket.  For me, it was $80 for a concert at Fenway Park.  Now multiply that number by the amount of total tickets sold for that concert.  At Fenway, it was nearly 50,000.  That adds up to $4 MILLION in ticket sales if everyone paid $80. $4 million, and that was just one night of the dozens on the tour.  I think about this frequently, and how much money the artists must pull in from these types of large scale tours…must be nice!

But even these millionaire musicians had humble beginnings.  Think now about what it must have been like for them starting out – doing anything and everything they can to get noticed, while still having to maintain some sort of income.  It’s really unfortunate when you think about it…some of these new musicians are so extremely talented and just want to provide the world with music and meanwhile, there are plenty of people out there rolling in money for having reality TV shows or working at a job their daddy got them.  When they’re first starting out, young musicians are just looking for the money they need to get going.

Well, my dear friends are flipping the script.  I introduce to you – Copilot.

Copilot is a dream turned reality by my friend Ry McDonald.  The name hails from the first place Ry was when he set his mind to giving music to the world – riding copilot in his dad’s car, listening to The Beatles.  Ry and his angelic co-voice, Maggie, are in that beginning phase right now.  They play anywhere they can, and they’ve recently started traveling to popular areas of Boston to sing for passers-by.  They’ve been collecting tips, but the other day they decided to give the money back.  Yes, they decided to give back some of the money that they have been working so hard to earn.

The duo took on Quincy Market, with a guitar case full of $1 bills.  They had signs that read “if you like our music, please take a dollar.”  They quite literally PAID PEOPLE to listen to them.  Kind of backwards, right?  But backwards isn’t always bad.  If you think about it, what better way to get people’s attention than physically giving them money?  Their goal was to give back to the community, as if their music isn’t already enough!  This philanthropic outlook is exactly what is going to land them on these massive tours, and land my butt in an $80 seat to listen.

Here’s the video recap of their day.  You’ve GOT to check these two out.  If you do nothing else with your night, check.these.two.out.

Facebook: Copilot

Twitter & Insta: @CopilotMusic17

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The Face of a Generation

When I was growing up, I looked up to Britney Spears. I had every CD, knew every word, and followed her every move (through the news on AOL, of course).  However, what I idolized about Britney didn’t go far beyond her outfits, dance moves, and smokin’ bod.  As far as pop culture goes, she was all us 90’s babes had. Besides Xtina but we all know how that one turned out. 

The bright eyed kids of 2015 have a better option. I say “kids” as if my Taylor Swift obsession isn’t 56 times greater than your average 12 year old’s but I guess that’s not the point. Here comes the fan girl…

I left Taylor’s concert last night completely inspired and even more intensely in love with the girl.  It started about 10 minutes after she came on stage and her hair had started to frizz from the humidity…so she is a real person!  Taylor carried on with class and poise as she, quite literally, always does.  Every fan danced along with their light up bracelets, controlled by Swift’s crew. When she spoke about the bracelets, she said the purpose of them was that so she could see every single person who was there for her. Ugh, I can’t. 

Her brief breaks for outfit changes were accompanied by video clips of all of her (our) best pals talking about what it’s like to be in Taylor’s posse, amongst many other topics such as love and friendship. It was pretty touching to hear all of the kind words they had about Swift, clearly touched by a friendship that can’t be easy to maintain with all of them being famous and whatnot. They summarized a TSwift hangout as one accompanied by Chinese food, snacks, and cats – AKA heaven. Patiently waiting for my invite. 

While she managed to play every single song on her new album in addition to some classics, Taylor also did a great deal of talking.  She talked briefly about recognizing that everyone around you is going through a struggle, and to always be kind. But before performing her new song Clean, Taylor gave the speech of all speeches.  She talked about what we all face in the current day and age, constantly seeing what is going on in everyone else’s lives and struggling not to compare our complex lives (stress, rejection, drama) to everyone else’s glorified internet lives. “When you start to compare yourself to other people,” she suggested, “please change the channel in your mind to something else.” 

 
She went on to tell all of her audience members, whose ages ranged from about 3-75, all of the things they are not. They are not damaged, worthless, or the sum of the opinions of strangers. They are, she explained, special, capable of being loved, and capable of standing on their own in this crazy world. My sisters who are entering middle school heard this speech, and I couldn’t be happier that they did.  I wish that my pop idol told me that when I was their age.  Instead, she told her fans that she was a slave for a man. And then this happened:

  See my point?

Whether entering middle school or not, Taylor’s words are ones that we can all learn from. You’re not defined by your mistakes, she explained, “please, be kind to yourself.” She talked about the fact that heartbreak is inevitable and boys can be mean as the mother in front of me rubbed her young son’s back while he listened intently (take notes, bud!).  She soon dropped the sentiments and went right back into her nerdy white girl dance moves that are remarkably similar to my own, but her messages were heard. And I am so, so happy that this generation has her to hear it from. 

If you are keeping up with the Kardashians or glorifying someone with less than glorifying qualities, I suggest you look up and see Taylor’s army coming through.  Also, let me know if you find my invitation to the bestie hangout…chinese food is on me, Tay. You just bring the cats. 

#WakeUpAmerica

This country has a problem.  Okay, this country has a lot of problems.  But it has one big problem that people like to ignore.  I’ve found that we like to mask this problem behind other things.  One day our problem is biased law enforcement.  The next it’s biased media coverage.  Today, it’s the confederate flag.  Our problem is not any of these things, our problem is racism.

I couldn’t be happier to see the confederate flag losing traction & being removed from the shelves of power-house retailers.  It almost makes me angry that this has been such a debate when it is so many years too late (that rhymed).  I applaud the actions of the companies and institutions that are removing the flag, but the fact that this is such breaking news is just another indicator of the major, major underlying issue.  Why does it take the brutal massacre of nine people to make this change?  And why, why, why are so many people still defending this symbol of hate?

Flying the confederate flag carries the same weight as flying a swastika.  There is no difference.

Racism is not inherited.  I am a firm believer that every person is born with a kind heart.  Whether it is mental illness or innocent predisposition that leads them to racist tendencies, well I guess that is out of their control.  As someone who was born and raised in the north, I can tell you that this is not an isolated issue.  There is a huge misconception that the north is this symbol of evolution and forward thinking while the south is stuck in the past.  Well guess what, no one is stuck in the past.  This is the present.  It is 2015 and this is the way our country is.  Pretty depressing, huh?

But the belief that racism is taught actually leaves a great deal of room for hope.  I have seen several examples of people going against the twisted views of their elders in order to do what is right – or, rather, whatever the hell they want to do.  These are the people that break the cycle.  They, like myself, will teach their children to love everyone the same regardless of color, gender, sexuality, and appearance.  I wish I could say that I have never experienced racism first hand, but I can not.  However, the one thing that has kept me positive in difficult situations is remembering how many people choose love.  When I was (still am) growing up, my father always told me that for every one bad person, there are a hundred people trying to help.  Now, when I watch the news, I can’t help but look for the helpers.  I challenge you to look for them next time.  I promise you’ll find them.

The only thing that I enjoy about the amount of coverage this confederate flag ridiculousness is receiving is the fact that it is taking attention from the Charleston, SC coward who was taught to hate.  I don’t really have words for people defending the flag.  People are claiming that this flag holds history.  This flag is their heritage.  To them I say:

Screw your heritage if your heritage is hate.

Teach love.  Look for the helpers.  End rant.

Call Her Human

By now we’ve all been introduced to Caitlyn Jenner.  We’ve all shared our opinions, sent the photos to our friends, and read through countless Facebook statuses and tweets, everyone suddenly an expert on what it’s like to live inside a body you don’t identify with for 65 years.  Never knew you all went through that.  Anyway, to no surprise the ignorant comments have been endless, and probably will be until the narrow-minded have a new target.  However, as upsetting as these comments can be, the ones that really got me thinking were the ones that treated Caitlyn like any other woman on the street – a object of sexuality.

It blows my mind that here we have this woman who has gone through an unimaginable transformation after living trapped in her own body, and the most that people can comment on is her physical appearance.  I’ve heard many people express how hot she is (agreed), many express that she still looks like a man, many express that her boobs must only look like that because of the corset, and many people express that

there’s no way she looks like that in real life – it must be Photoshopped.

So just like that, in a matter of minutes, Caitlyn Jenner went from a man, an athlete, a father, and a mentor to nothing more than a photograph.  In a matter of minutes, Caitlyn became subjected to criticism and assumptions that she never had to face as Bruce.  Where we once talked about Jenner’s accomplishments, we now talk about her physical appearance.  My God, does anyone else see the problem here?!

It’s truly unfortunate that while Caitlyn has escaped one world of hardship, she has just gotten her first taste of the world of a female, constantly under pressure to look her best or be judged by whomever wishes to judge her.  While Jenner is no stranger to the limelight, she will now have to look and act as a perfect female at all times, or else she will face the fire.  Without a doubt, the days of being remembered for gold medals are long gone.  I’ve heard so many people say things like “she was an Olympic athlete” and “she was so athletic.”  I even heard one of my favorite radio hosts saying something to the tune of “rest in peace to the Olympic gold medalist”.  To these people, I would like to point out that Caitlyn’s legs are the SAME EXACT legs that crossed those Olympic finish lines.

She IS an Olympic athlete.  she is an Olympic gold medalist.

And she is so much more.  Maybe people are just not used to these situations and don’t know how to react.  Honestly, I don’t know why or how this deep seated societal issue prevails.  What I do know is that Caitlyn has lived a long and successful 65 years, and is now paving the way for people trying to muster the courage to do the very same thing she has done.  Don’t you dare take that away from her.

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An Open Letter to a Graduating Senior

Dear Senior,

For the past 12 months I have envied every aspect of your life.  I envied you as you attended tailgates in the Fall, had an 8 week break in the Winter, and pretended to be warm at day drinks this Spring.  I envied you as you slept in on weekdays and lost sleep on weekends.  I even envied you as you sat in class, pretending to take notes but in reality just browsing Twitter.

But no part of me envies the emotional roller coaster that you are about to embark on these last couple of weeks.  It is a supremely terrifying feeling knowing that life as you know it will surely and undoubtedly come to an end, and you will be thrown into the “real world” whether you have your shit together or not.  I remember the emotions like they were yesterday: pride (you’re actually graduating, despite all of the exams that you didn’t study for as much as you should have), sadness (moving home, ugh), relief (will you be able to afford to put gas in your tank for once?), fear (what the f*** am I going to do now).

As tough as this is, I encourage you to ignore these emotions for the next two weeks.  If I could go back, I would take all of these emotions and turn them into urgency.  Whether you can come to terms with it yet or not, YOU HAVE SO LITTLE TIME.  Eat at every single restaurant that only exists in your college town.  Get out of your apartment and just be outside.  Sit in the middle of campus, go for a hike, take a walk if you’re too hungover for the incline of a hike, drink on porches – literally please just go outside.  Spend time with your friends and take a million pictures.  If you don’t, what will you TBT from your cubicle at this time next year?  I can’t even verbalize every piece of advice I have for you.  A year from now, these last two weeks will be memories that you will reflect on through your group chats with your friends, or Timehop if you’re really mentally unstable (like me).

Through your pride, sadness, relief, and fear, know that you WILL be ok.  Never again will “ok” consist of a day drink followed by 12 hours of sleep, but you will find “ok” in other forms.

The real world doesn’t exist

– don’t ever let anyone make you take yourself seriously enough to believe it does.  For the next two weeks, don’t waste one second thinking about what you’ll be doing with your life, or what your version of “ok” will be.

Live every moment, and live it with urgency.  And you will be ok. I promise.

Vicky’s…Not About That Bass

Right around the end of every winter, girls & women start to think about facing one of the worst seasonal tasks of all: buying new bathing suits.  My dad is always telling me that I don’t need new ones every year (true), but the styles are always changing and it would be social suicide to be behind the times.  It is truly a miserable, but necessary process.

A gal pal of mine was venting to me recently about how Victoria’s Secret bathing suits just do not fit people with any sort of junk in the trunk.  In my own personal experience, if my butt doesn’t fit in something it’s a mini personal victory because well, I don’t have that problem as much as I’d like to. Talking to her, it hit me that if I have to go up a size in Vicky’s bathing suits, I can’t even imagine how it is affecting girls with a real booty.

We continued to chat about how year after year, Victoria’s Secret puts their photoshopped, emaciated models in with the cutest styles and most vibrant colors.  And as much as I hate to admit it – the quality of their stuff is (slightly) above average.  She was so frustrated when we were talking because she has lost over 10 pounds yet still had to buy a size large in the adorable must-have Vicky’s suit.  She typically wears mediums but a snug large was her only option because the style wasn’t even OFFERED in an XL.  But she bought the suit, decided to rock it on vacation with her newly slim bod, only to find that it uncomfortably dug into her sides to the point where it left painful marks.

Hey @Victoria – what do you have against a booty?!

Of course they offer the high-waisted style – that’ll take care of the big booty babes because they all must want high-waisted, right?!  Wrong.  This girl just wanted the style that is typically advertised by Victoria’s Secret, and in return she got a painful red mark on her side. I have three real problems with this.

  1. Every girl (especially this one) deserves to feel comfortable in a bathing suit that they are paying this much money for…which leads me to the next problem:
  2. WHY are these suits so expensive?! I couldn’t find an exact number – shoutout to the Vicky’s PR people for burying all of the evidence – but I did find that it costs UNDER $2 for Victoria’s Secret to produce these items.  Would it REALLY kill them to add a little extra material, or, if they really can’t do that, god forbid they make an XL?!
  3. What kind of message is this retail power-house sending to girls? I mean here we have a girl who was feelin’ and lookin’ good, ready to drop some cash on a new bathing suit only to silently be told that she is just not skinny enough. The message sounds to me like: “We only carry sizes 1, 3, &5…you could try Sears!”

     

    Down with Vicky’s suits – up with the BOOTY!

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, My Exception.

I don’t eat seafood, unless it is fried or drenched in sauce and therefore doesn’t taste like seafood.  I don’t drink vodka, unless it is 2011.  I place ‘i’ before ‘e’, except after ‘c’.  Exceptions.

I don’t believe in the death penalty.  I think that as cliché as it sounds, an eye for an eye truly does make the whole world blind.  Call me naïve, but it seems hypocritical to take someone’s life as a punishment for them doing the same to someone else.  On a smaller scale, it’s like hitting your child because they hit their little brother.  Well, where do you think they learned to hit when they are angry?  What sort of example does that set?  In my opinion, the death penalty puts the government on a pedestal.  It slaps the hand of the common man and says “only we can punish people by killing them.”  Death penalty proponents will say that if this punishment didn’t exist, prisons would not be able to hold everyone and we would all waste our tax dollars paying for their meals.  Well, well, well…sounds to me like a flawed system.

I do not believe in the death penalty.  But I do believe in exceptions.

Dzhokhar Tsarnaev took the lives of 4 people and altered the lives of over 264 others.  This young man took a day that was formerly filled with pride and excitement and made it one of tragedy and fear for thousands of people in an unsuspecting city.  He clouded a sunny day with dust and smoke from bombs he made with his own two hands.  He and his brother put nails and sharp objects in pressure cookers with every intention of shredding flesh.  While first responders were tying tourniquets and picking up body parts from the streets, where was Dzhokhar?  Whole Foods – for some milk.  The next day, while law enforcement was working around the clock and countless people were fighting for their lives, Dzhokhar was at the gym.

Dzhokhar’s lawyers are not denying any of these facts.  They are trying, instead, to say that he  does not deserve the death penalty because he was influenced by his older brother.  He’s easily swayed, they claim.  Great, good for him.  I’m sure this has led him to do some stupid things in his life.  I know a lot of people who are easily influenced.  Could I convince them to be terrorists?  No shot.  This is simply not something that can be taught unless the person being taught was already, you know, a terrorist.  Also, I don’t know many people who would intentionally run someone over with a car if they were really such an inspiration.

I’ve been shamelessly keeping up with the trial and reading reports of Dzhokhar’s attitude towards the whole ordeal.  He stares straight at the video footage of the bombings and the photos of limbs blown off and does not show one ounce of emotion.  When people are testifying about the agony of nearly bleeding out on the streets of Boston, or how they tried and failed to save their own friends or children – he doesn’t even have the decency to look in their direction.

It’s difficult to put a finger on exactly how much sauce or bacon makes seafood tolerable.  I can’t exactly pinpoint the day my stomach decided that vodka was no longer an option.  Sometimes ‘e’ comes before ‘i’ even if it is before ‘c’ and there is just no explanation.

I can’t give you one solid reason why I think this young man deserves the death penalty.

All I know is that you, Dzhokhar, are my exception.  These people deserved to live – you do not.

victims