My Bloody Valentine

  Valentine’s day is about love, this is true. However, it is not about the kind where a last minute box of crappy chocolate lets whomever know that they are special to you. It isn’t about flowers or dinners or underpants, either. The real story of Valentine’s day and its significance, is way bloodier and much more serious than anything Hallmark would ever print in its pink and loopy cursive.

  According to legend, Valentine was a priest under Claudius II. Like most Roman emperors, this Claudius was a huge dick and loved killing people. Somewhere around 250-ish AD in Roman history, war was raging and there was loads of fighting, killing, and raping going on, thus making the emperor happy. At some point, Claudius realized, men who were married weren’t so keen on leaving their nice, soft ladies to go to war. As opposed to the horny bachelors, who tended to want to fight, kill and rape a whole bunch, for any reason, whatsoever. This conclusion led to a no-brainer decree. Marriage became illegal, punishable by death.

  Enter our doomed hero, Valentine. He was a Christian priest, already a double negative in those days, and was infuriated by the law. There was no way to change the situation, so he quietly rebelled and continued to marry people anyway.

  The services were held at night, in secret locations. The vows and blessings had to be whispered so as not to attract any attention. Young couples, taking their lives into their own hands, only to declare their love for one another. Now THAT is fucking romantic, and it was still, like eighteen thousand years before Victoria’s Secret was invented.

  We all know what’s coming… you can’t be a saint without something heinous happening to you, it’s just part of the deal.

  Of course Valentine was caught, jailed and his execution was scheduled for February 14th. The significance of the date was a nice big fuck you from Claudius. Feb 14 was the very non-Christian-y feast of Lupercalia, a blood soaked Bacchanal that comes at the end of the “Month Of Marriage”. During Lupercalia, people sacrificed animals and burnt offerings to the God formerly known as Lupercus( later to be known as Pan, pending release from his record contract) Everyone would feast on sacrificed goat meat, then eligible virgins would smear the blood all over their hot, naked bodies then run screaming through the streets. Kind of like Burning Man, but with more rape…and no furry bicycles.

  Good thing Valentine was going to be clubbed to a pulp then beheaded, so as not to see too much of that silliness.

  As the legend goes, in the months leading up to his death, Valentine fell in love with the jailers son, who would bring food and water to the prisoners. Some say it was a young girl, because, well, we can’t have the patron saint of Hallmark and red G-string underpants be a big homo, now can we? Let’s be real for a moment, though, we’re talking about ancient Rome…. AND a priest … so …. plus, if you think about it, even in such a primitive age, what jailer would send his baby girl out to bring water and gruel to a bunch of war torn, rape-y convicts? Back then girls got sold to people. And who’s to say that it wasn’t just love between the boy and priest, adoring, pure sweet love, without sex? That is also a possibility. So don’t get all pissy about me suggesting Valentine might’ve been gay. Even though he might have been gay.

  Anyway , when the day arrived and he was led out to be executed , he left a note for the boy expressing his affection and he signed it: “Love, your Valentine.” Ta-daa.

  He was beheaded and his body was burned. Claudius did not fuck around with any niceties. He made damn sure that Valentine suffered mightily in public to send a strong message to any fool who may have a Valentinian thought of matrimonial rebellion .

  Whew, THANK GOD we are, finally, an advanced society. One that finds it ignorant, nay, primitive, to stand in loves way. Which is why we no longer make laws to keep loving adults from joining in the bonds of marriage, right?

Umm …anyway .

  Valentine’s Day, like many other holidays, has become an advertising orgy, geared to sell heaps of useless crap to us all. Now, after reading about the man for whom this day is named, don’t you feel like a dick for guilting your loved one into buying you a Pajamagram? I think it’s far more appropriate, in honor of St. Valentine, to make a brave stand. Stand up to what you think is wrong, love boldly and do your best to right wrongs and rally against social injustice. Egypt is a beautiful, modern metaphor for Valentine’s day. AND a bunch of the protesters returned to the scene to clean up after themselves. THAT’S love. I know dudes who have howled to the rafters that they love me, only to leave all kinds of mess for me to deal with, and not just the kind that wipes up with a tee shirt.

  The people in your life whom you love the most, they ought to know it by now. If not, don’t wait for a day on the calendar to tell you it’s time to do so. The heart can’t read a calendar. It can’t read, period. The heart is like a dumb little kid, jumping up and down in your chest when you love somebody. If you’re lucky, it’s always jumping, for your friends, your family, your lovers, past, present and future, your pets, your God, life and yourself. And, despite some lingering ignorance on the topic, you can, for the most part, love your little heart out without having to fear for your life. May it always be that way.

Love!

A depiction…

A depiction of the non stop hard core action in the middle of a ten-hour tech rehearsal:

Cooking Up a Storm

Storm Large improvises in the kitchen

The sexy singer who belted out rock anthems on the reality TV show “Rock Star: Supernova,” and wrote and starred in her autobiographical one-woman show, cannot color inside the lines.

“I’m kind of a dork — I don’t really measure anything,” says Storm Large, pouring water from a teakettle into a pan of crackling-hot quinoa grains. “I probably should.”

Instead, she riffs. Yams — one of her favorite vegetables — are simmered with shallots until soft, then puréed with blood orange juice. “God was drunk when he made blood oranges. And Megan Fox,” she says appreciatively, squeezing the fruit and watching its vermilion-colored juice drip into a bowl.

Minutes later she opens the blender jar, bends to smell the deep auburn soup, spoons out a taste and pauses to consider her creation. “It’s gonna be weird. It’s gonna be awesome. No — you’re gonna thank me.”

She moves to the stove to tend to Part II of the midday meal, a pan of simmering quinoa, cooked grains she will toss with roasted brussels sprouts and carrots, turkey bacon and mushrooms, and a garlicky vinaigrette. As Edith Piaf’s voice soars through the kitchen speakers, Large grabs a bottle of Bragg Liquid Aminos and pours a glug into the vinegar-oil mixture. The flavor booster, popular with vegetarians, adds a nice, fat mouth feel, she says, “like soy sauce but better for you.”

The 6-foot singer, barefoot and in yoga pants and a T-shirt, says she’s addicted to organic vegetables, loves salads and currently has a thing for Green & Black’s bittersweet chocolate. She started cooking school in Portland before being pulled away by a regular gig at Dante’s nightclub. So it makes sense that in her bungalow kitchen, shallots — not onions — sit on her cutting board, real (organic) butter is in the refrigerator, and black lava sea salt and reduced balsamic vinegar sit on the shelf. “I always add vinegar (to roasted vegetables) because it totally brings out the bright.”

There’s not a recipe in sight — just a few nice knives, some heavy-bottomed saucepans, lots of fresh vegetables.

That’s really all she needs.

Good ingredients. An appetite. And her imagination.

Read more at OregonLive.com

The Nervous Breakdown

Great interview on The Nervous Breakdown. My friend Q designs all my CD Covers and is a phenomenal writer (she’s a regular contributor to TNB) and set me up with the lovely Gloria Harrison. It was a great day with some weapons grade female brains…and tacos.

PART I

http://www.thenervousbreakdown.com/

PART II

http://www.thenervousbreakdown.com/

xoStorm

Video Interview With Neal B.

Neal B. of NealB.tv sits with Storm to discuss the first song she wrote, her influences, her parents reaction to pursuing a musical career and more in this two part interview exclusively from WTBL TV (Willing To Be Lucky TV)

Portland Sings For Haiti

James, Scotty Weddle and I performed a couple of songs in support of the CD “Portland Sings For Haiti” (all proceeds going to Mercy Corps). The show is called “Keep It Local” (videos below).

Besides my terribly huge sweater that makes me look like my water’s about to break… it sounds pretty good. xoStorm

Why Marriage Matters

“Marriage Matters To Me is a grassroots campaign to get Oregonians talking to each other about marriage equality. The most important and influential conversations we have are with the people we know and care about. For the many Oregonians who believe that extending civil marriage to same sex couples is a matter of basic fairness and respect, Marriage Matters To Me is an easy and powerful way to start that conversation.” Learn more at the websites below-
http://marriagemattersoregon.org/takeaction.html
http://www.basicrights.org/

Haitian Relief

Two Haitian relief efforts happening this week in Portland: Big Ass Sandwiches is donating 100% of their profits to Mercy Corps on Wed. 1/20, and I will be singing at the Aladdin Theater with Thomas Lauderdale, Holcombe Waller and Portland Cello Project (to name a few) on Thursday 1/21, also for Mercy Corps.

xoStorm

ORPHEE!

I am currently at the Opera with my fellow bloggers , Cynthia Fuhrman , Bob Hicks , and Byron Beck…we are going to head backstage for snacks, drinks and to meet the cast of Phillip Glass’ “Orphee” .  It’s opening night and there is a line forming outside…a crispy cold night and Byron has already noted my boobs hiding inside my silly coat…. a thing I like to call a bath mat with sleeves . At least I’m warm!

On to the green room!

————–

OK ! Just got back from previewing the stage with the lovely (and minty breath-ed) Laura Hassle , production manager at the Keller Auditorium . The stage is “raked” which means it is pitched forward at an angle. The idea behind this stage set up is to project the un mic-ed voices outward. It is also the reason for the terms “upstage” and “downstage”.

No, I didn’t know that before today. Yes, that is dumb….but we all learn things at our own pace.

There is also a stretched canvas ceiling over the 50’x30′ set , unusual for this performance space but functional for cool lights and even more projection of sound. The set is a present-day, tastefully appointed loft with a very modern aesthetic. Byron (www.byronbeck.com) squealed when he saw some Louis Vitton props backstage. So gay… and I say that with all the love in the world for my swishy friend with the naturally great taste….and his permission.

The stage is mic-ed for recording purposes only. These studly Lords and Ladies use only their natural power and hard earned chops to fill the 3000 seat house. I feel like a total dork having to have used a microphone in such a small space (The Ellen Bye) for my show , when these folks push their arpeggiated arias naturally like bazookas made of meat and hot oxygen.

Speaking of hot meat…..my buddy and BBT partner, Marc Acito is in this fine production. (Blogging from backstage….www.marcacito.com)He’s playing a glazier, (a glass worker)has one line, consisting of three words and, I’ve been told, is wearing a cool ass worker uniform, with the perfect Acito pun on the back: ” Phil’s Glass” .

I love that man.

Julia Sheridan , PR Manager for The Opera, has talked us all into doing this Opening Night Blog deal and has now filled our table with surar-y treats and alcohol. My hunch is, as the night goes on, our tweets and blogs will get a touch more..um
….colorful.

More at intermission.

———

Best line in the first act: ” My life stinks of success and death!”

Soooo French!

The text (projected over the stage) is straight from Jean Cocteau’s film, “Orphee” . All I know of Orphee is the greek, “Orpheus”. The tragic tale of a musician who loved his wife, Euridice, so much, he followed her to the Underworld to charm Hades and Persephone, with beautiful music, in exchange for getting his wife back. Hades is so moved, he allows Euridice to leave, with the caveat that though they can walk out, Orpheus in front, his wife walking a ways behind him, Orpheus CANNOT look back at her until they are both above ground, and among the living. Of course, as all awesome tragedies go, Orpheus gets to the surface, freaks out at the thought his Lady isn’t bringing up the rear, and turns around.

Jackass.

Anyways, the production is refined and clean with the signature Phillip Glass minimalism. The set, from the audiences’ perspective, looks like an ad for new condos in “Explore The Pearl” magazine, the cast is largely Portland hipster, with ironic beards, plaids, potbellies and beanies. However, La Princess (Death, who’s played with uber cat like cool by soprano, Lisa Saffer) is more Hollywood cougar. Long white furry coat draped over skinny black jeans and stacked heels…..long white coat…? So I’m kinda dressed like Death. Awesome.

Death glides around charming and taking people, following orders from the underworld. But, soon, like all women, she falls in love, gets all distracted, fucks up at work by taking a soul that lies between her and the object of her desire,Orphee. Ah, conflict.

ACT TWO:

Everything gets even more like a Calvin Klein fragrance ad. Though really happening in front of me, it could have been a black and white, French silent film full of hungry, bird boned models and scowl-y shirtless dudes. Sparse and beautiful, the piece never gets overwhelming musically nor visually. The principles and their body doubles move through the underworld via mirrors. (Mirrors are the doors between the living world and the world of the dead.) The actors move dreamily, in halting steps, through a diorama of love, longing, Ikea and impending doom. Death is love, and love sparks, fades, disappoints and then kills.

So French.

In the world of the living, death seems very dangerous and terrifying, but in the underworld, death is safe and stoic, with boundaries and rules. Love is forbidden.
In the end, the ultimate sacrifice must be made. Again, this is French, minimalist opera, so no, Death is not the ultimate sacrifice, it is forgoing passion and sweet danger of love for the sake of returning to a safe, banal life. A life where you forever try to recapture the feelings of passion, and the sweet danger of love…but cannot.

No I’m not drunk. I really enjoyed this production , go to www.portlandopera.org for more info on this and other upcoming productions.

See you out there,
xoxoStorm

The Balls Breakup ??

NO . The Balls have not broken up … we all adore each other and will play again when the stars align ……rest assured .

Making a living as an artist is a many splendor-ed thing . By “splendor” , I mean it’s fuckin’ HARD . To make ends meet you have to grow , flow , starve and sprint your whole working life . In my twenty years as an independent artist , I hadn’t done so well until the last six or seven , where I finally earned a pretty decent wage . However , up until only THREE years ago , I was still shlepping drinks as a part time bartender at Dante’s .

James , Davey , Brian and myself are so grateful that we did so well for so long , a fun band of great friends traveling together around the world …. it’s the best time any band could ask for . Fuck fame and riches and contracts and cred … we had a BLAST just making music and getting up to mischief on and off stage . Let the “OMG SERIOUSLY?!”  haters hate . We rule and they can suck it .

The Balls did very well for a long time , creatively and financially , but family life and work life takes priority sometimes and we all respect that . It’s really hard to keep a band going and everyone gainfully employed , paid and insured . Marriage , kids and real life peek in and need to be dealt with ….. so we find other ways to sing , play , make and rock while our brothers are working on other parts of their lives .

A band is a family and a business . With The Balls it was , and always will be , family first . So , no , we haven’t broken up . True we are not playing very often and may go a year or so without playing together . But , as I said at the top of this , we all still adore each other and love playing music together , so it’s really only a matter of time .
Thank you all for caring about us as much as you do , we think you’re pretty awesome too .
See you out there .
xoxoStorm