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Twisted by Jessica Zafra – Pumping irony since 1994
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Archive for the ‘Music’

Prince, 1958 – 2016. Forever in our hips.

April 21, 2018 By: jessicazafra Category: Music No Comments →

Dearly beloved
We are gathered here today
To get through this thing called “life”

Electric word, life
It means forever and that’s a mighty long time
But I’m here to tell you
There’s something else
The afterworld

A world of never-ending happiness
You can always see the sun, day or night

So when you call up that shrink in Beverly Hills
You know the one, Dr. Everything’ll-Be-Alright
Instead of asking him how much of your time is left
Ask him how much of your mind, baby

Cause in this life
Things are much harder than in the afterworld
In this life
You’re on your own

And if the elevator tries to bring you down
Go crazy!


Heretofore unreleased footage of Prince rehearsing Nothing Compares 2 U, a B-side which became a hit for Sinead O’Connor six years later.

We’re forming a band. Got any suggestions?

April 16, 2018 By: jessicazafra Category: Music, Projects 5 Comments →


When we sat down to brunch someone who looked like Fernando Torres was sitting outside. We should’ve taken the photo immediately because he was replaced by not Jason Statham.

Who knows what happens in my murky subconscious, but I woke up the other day thinking: I have to form a band.

So I told my friend Aye, who had an all-girl band called Chain Gang, and she said, “Let’s!” Aye plays bass and can hum the bassline of anything. In college she was our supplier of Rolling Stone and cassette bootlegs. I have no musical ability, but I have excellent training in how not to manage a band. Also I used to hang around bands and volunteer to write their liner notes. I love liner notes, if I had my way albums would look like Criterion Collection packages. (Kids, look up “albums”.)

First I have to catch up, because I stopped listening to new music in the early 2000s. At which point my musical tastes started moving backwards in time (Tom Waits, Steely Dan, bop). Aye made me a playlist which includes An Army of Lights, Bombay Bicycle Club, and Yuck. While I’m cramming, we’re waiting for a name to come to us.

– What’s Naomi (Chain Gang’s vocalist) doing now?
– She’s a voice talent for dubbed Korean TV series.
– You mean like The Prince of Boazania?
– Yup.
– Maybe we should call ourselves The Prince of Boazania.

Or Our Feline Overlords. Or Keanu Reeves.

Obviously we have to find instrumentalists. I’m thinking open auditions in June. Prince (in denial), Wendy, Johnny Marr, Peter Buck, Annie Clark and The Edge need not audition.

I’m still thinking of ground rules, but off the top of my head:
1. We just want to play.
2. Implosion is inevitable, but we’d like to delay it as long as possible.

Your thoughts?

A cleansing fury: Remembering Kurt Cobain

March 29, 2018 By: jessicazafra Category: Music No Comments →

Not long ago I was in very good spirits when I met someone who proceeded to cast a black cloud over my mood. She probably meant well—it is always useful to prepare for the obstacles one might encounter—but it was not what I needed to hear. Please, I’m a raving neurotic overanalyzer, I already get in my own way.

We parted on cordial terms, and I thought I was fine, but as the evening wore on I got angrier and angrier. I refuse to be told that there are things I can never do. Sure, I’ll never win Wimbledon, but I do not like it when people try to get in my head using the fear of disappointment. (I will not fear. Fear is the mind-killer.)

I went to bed seething, and at 2am I sat bolt upright. I had to do something to clear my mind of this fear other people had tried to plant in it. I cleaned my house, but I knew I had to do more. That’s when I had the sudden urge to listen to Nirvana. I had not listened to grunge in years, but I needed to purge myself of bad thoughts, and very loud guitar rock has always done that for me.

So at 3am Nirvana was blasting in my ears. On headphones, because one must be considerate to the neighbors. That certainly cleared my head. I realized then that Kurt Cobain is my patron saint—well, one of them. The music couldn’t save him, but many are alive today because of his music. (And Layne’s, and Chris’s, and others we never met.)

Here’s the softer stuff.

April 5 is the 24th anniversary of Kurt Cobain’s death. Man, I’m old.

John Mahoney as Diane’s dad in Say Anything

February 08, 2018 By: jessicazafra Category: Movies, Music No Comments →

Say Anything is one of my favorite movies not just because I wish I had a Lloyd Dobler (John Cusack’s character), but because I envied Diane Court (Ione Skye) her very supportive, understanding dad (John Mahoney) and was wrenched when Mr Court turned out to be a criminal.

Always loved this singing-in-the-car bit. (Context: Mr Court had just learned that Diane got a scholarship to Oxford.) John Mahoney also starred in Frasier as the down-to-earth dad of those pretentious twits Frasier and Niles. Goodbye and thanks, Mr. Mahoney.

Excite your synapses with this Essential Playlist of Early Music

January 26, 2018 By: jessicazafra Category: History, Music 2 Comments →

From my classmates I picked up indie rock, and from musician friends I picked up jazz (Hard bop, so I was thrilled to meet Patrick de K, whose mom was the patron of Thelonious Monk and other greats). From my audiophile friend I learned this specialized burn: “Eh, that’s a lifestyle product.”

When I got my first apartment I had two housemates: one loved Broadway, and one collected recordings of early music (“classical” from 1600-1800). So I got to know the work of Stephen Sondheim, but I’ve never done a deep dive into early music. Recently I discovered that the albums he ordered from European record companies are all available online on music streaming sites. No more excuses—time to plug in the gaps in my education.

I asked Leo to make a list of essential early music, say 25 works. Little did I know that the resulting playlist would come to almost 40 hours of early music. Listen to these playlists and feed your dendrites.

Early Music Essential Playlist: Orchestral

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Playlists for when you’re stuck in traffic 1: R.E.M.

November 20, 2017 By: jessicazafra Category: Music No Comments →

My solution: I’m away for two weeks, and then I’m going to hole up in my house in December with my feline overlords because I have two manuscripts to prepare for printing. (I’ve stocked up enough cat food and litter till the New Year.)