February 13, 2012
M is for Mondays...and Music: Musical Memory, I Have Nothing
Music Monday is a day late...I started writing this yesterday, and it got a little too epic to finish in one sitting. Sorry!
I was shocked and saddened to hear that Whitney Houston had died over the weekend. While I did not live and breathe for her music, she was just one of those artists who was always there. I remember sitting in the back seat of the school bus around first or second grade with Walkman (remember those?) blaring Ohhhhhhhhhh, I wanna dance with somebodaaaaaay! I wanna feel the HEAT with somebodaaaaaaaay! Yeahhhhhh I wanna dance with somebody - with somebody who loves me! You'd better believe my six year old self used to step touch it out to that shit!
Then came The Bodyguard, and my cousins Amy and Erica and I would spend HOURS in their basement recording warbly covers of I Will Always Love You (and other gems such as Janet Jackson's Again and every song on the Les Miserables soundtrack). I would literally maim people to have a copy of those cassettes - I'd bet they are PRICELESS.
Whitney taught me that I was every woman and that Chaka Khan was awesome (right on both counts, Whitney). Nobody, not ANYONE that came before or after her will ever sing our national anthem like that again.
Whitney was beautiful - and talented, which is why it is such a shame that it all fell apart, and fell apart too soon. Thanks for the music - Whitney.
Musical Memory: Whitney Houston's I Have Nothing
M+O's Bakery, Portsmouth, NH - Autumn 2008
When I left Ballet New England in 2008, I floundered for a bit. With no local dance jobs to be had - I drew upon my love for making food to get myself a job that would pay the bills. And that is how I came to be a baker at M+O's.
I was a "sweets" baker. The bread bakers came in around 2:00 or 3:00AM and stayed until 11:00AM or noon. I had the much easier shift, sweets bakers were in from 11:00-7:00PM. The bakery would be crowded and bustling during the shift overlap, but after the bread staff had left it would just be K, M and me.
K and M were the most fun co-workers, and we were an unlikely, tight-knit trio. K was 21 year old petit girl with long blonde hair. She dressed mainly in band tees and bell bottom jeans and had a husky deep, monotone voice that sounded hilariously wrong coming out of her tiny body. Also, she was stoned or hung over 85% of the time. M was 18, tall skinny, gay and flamboyant as all get out. He had an outstanding snarky, sharp tongued sense of humor and a penchant for pop divas (Britney, Madonna, Whitney).
M and I would wile away the hours by having intense singing-dancing-bake-offs. K would always look on with mild bemusement...not participating, but not exactly disapproving either.
On a particularly dull day - M put on Whitney's greatest hits. I Have Nothing started to play - and something took over me. I sang. I danced. There was tossing of flour and singing into rolling pins like a microphone. There were episodes of running through proofing racks and spinning with brooms.
Thus - the I Have Nothing Interpretive Dance was born. Essentially - I do the most ridiculous literal interpretation lip synch extravaganza to this song. I gave an encore performance at my best friend, Allison's 27th birthday party because she loves Whitney Houston. She laughed so much that she cried. I still bust it out occasionally at parties upon request. My friends think it's a friggin' riot.
I do not know what it is about this song - but it brings out my inner clown...and it will always remind me of M and K and the days that we spent together listening to pop music and tossing flour around the bakery.