Sunday, February 21, 2010

Bong Rock vs. Kiddie Music

So, I’m all like, “Jefé, which Death Cab cd do you want to listen to?” and his riposte was, “I don’t want to listen to any of that kiddie music.” Let me preface this conversation with some insight. Jefe'and I have a 13 year gap between our birthdays. That means when I was singing “People in my Neighborhood”, Jefé was singing the latest from Led Zeppelin. He was approaching 7th grade puberty when I was approaching my mom’s Ob-gyn. So, our musical tastes tend toward the opposite extremes. He likes grown up music and something we like to call Bong Rock—yes, the Grateful Dead, the Allman brothers, etc.

I’m not suggesting that I listen to NSync and he listens to Lawrence Welk, because in many respects, our tastes are (no pun intended) in sync. We both love Simon and Garfunkel (who doesn’t), Donovan, Leonard Cohen, CSNY, Fleetwood Mac. But, Neko Case, Andrew Bird, and Feist would not be the first things to hit his ipod. Jefe' tends more toward the classic—from classy jazz, classical or classic rock. He might be listening to McCoy Tyner or Coltrane. Some days his study shakes with the strains of Debussy. Then I find a cache of recently purchased Robin Trower or Donna Fargo. I must admit I had never heard of the last two, even though I did recognize Donna’s “Happiest Girl in the Whole USA.” Jefé's tastes are eclectic. He knows most everything about music and when I ask him about The Fleet Foxes (someone I had only just heard of), he hands me their cd. He’s introduced me to some great music. I actually picked up Mazzy Star from him and he bought me my first Feist cd AND my Tina Dico, not that he’d ever put either in the player. Some days he surprises me, though. I walk by his study and hear New Order or even The Cure—two of my faves from growing up. A time when Jefé was already grown up.

Yesterday when I was leaving I asked him where BB King’s greatest hits were. He was pleasantly surprised—I can branch out—I’m a grown up, too.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Roxanne Revisited

In high school my friends and I all thought that we were outre' fashionistas. You know, the kind of students who thought they were too cool for the place they lived, which for us was South Louisiana. Instead of embracing the Creole and Cajun culture surrounding us, we were much more interested in what was happening on the pages of Vogue magazine and in the streets of New York City. We dressed differently, drank hot tea in the afternoon, shopped at thrift stores, befriended the foreign students at the local University and listened to decidedly "Not Top 40" Music. Everything we did had to have the requisite flair--even our writing. So it was that we all chose pen names: names like Sadie Midnight, Calista Kreegan (before Calista Flockhart was even a star), and my name--Roxanne Dubier.

I loved The Police, so Roxanne was a no-brainer and the last name sounded French and fancy. So, I signed all of my overly sentimental poetry and unended short stories with a flourished Roxanne Dubier. I even made a poster of my signature and hung it on the ceiling of my bedroom above my bed. My own name was a gutteral German moniker, one that no one had heard of--but Roxanne was simple, yet mysterious. I was able to shed my identity, one that included being Black and White, specifically German--not a known quantity in my hometown--and become someone else, someone cool and sophisticated.

Flash-forward to 1998 when I took my then fiance', now husband to visit my family in Louisiana. After all the hellos and nibbles of boudin (you simply must try it) and nips of liqueurs (my mom always has a nip) we dragged our plane-tired bodies to my childhood bedroom, laid us each down on a twin bed and breathed a harmonious sigh of relaxation. Well, Idid anyway, my beau instead started laughing and pointing up to the ceiling. While I had never told him the story of Roxanne, he knew me enough from my still-present need for flair and flourish, that this must have something to do with an imagined identity. Yes, Jefe', I gave myself a pen-name, and yes, it sounds fake-fancy and fake-French. Even better, Jefe', after 25 years of leaving Roxanne behind, I'm resurrecting her for this blog. So, if you like fashion, literature, motherhood, teaching, clashes of cultures and fancy flair, then SURPRISE! You've entered the realm of Roxanne Revisited!