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Living in the Future, the Right Way

On Saturday, I woke up sad. I’d had a lovely time at the beach with old friends the day before, but for some reason (which I now blame on ragweed) Saturday morning brought with it a weepy sort of melancholy.

By Saturday night, my heart was full again. I was reminded what an amazing life I lead. And I didn’t even have to leave my house.

Sometime on Saturday afternoon, Jonah Knight emailed me to remind me of something I’d promised him a while back: that for two weeks I’d be sponsoring his new Twitch site, where he is now streaming live performances.

For those who might not remember, Jonah and I met at a Mysticon (Roanoke, VA) back around 2013. We had a mutual friend whose work we admired: James Maxey. In particular, James’s fabulous superhero classic Nobody Gets the Girl. I loved it so much, my blurb is still on the cover. Jonah loved it so much, he wrote a soundtrack for it.

So yeah…we were pretty much destined to be friends. He invited me to be a guest on his podcast. I saw him perform at a bunch of cons. And then he moved to California. BOO.

Of course, with all I’ve had going on this year, I’d totally forgotten about the promise I made him. (Surprise!) I immediately dropped everything, put my ducks in a row, got Jonah’s link, signed up on Twitch, and followed Jonah’s profile.

I also shared his most recent Facebook post, where he announced that he’d be performing a livestream event THAT VERY NIGHT. How fortuitous! I still had so much on my to-do list, but I could stand to do it all while watching/listening to one of my favorite people perform live, right? Why not?

So I tidied up a bit and lurked silently in the chatroom while Jonah warmed up. He already had visitors from Spain and New Zealand online. And he’s in California. And I’m in Florida. Instant global party!

I also worked on my art homework — Bianca has taken to giving me assignments, which I’m totally cool with. She told me to stop working on butterflies for a while and do something different like…chalkboard art! White pencil on black construction paper. Write some quotes in fancy handwriting. Doodle some things. But what was I going to draw?

Well…Jonah was right there, so I let him be my inspiration. I started writing down my favorite lines from his songs. I doodled rocket ships and robots and steampunk gears and stars. And it was wonderful.

I didn’t jump in on the chat until he mentioned my name…and then we interacted in that 21st century way kids do — I spoke via chat, and he answered on the video. He even played “King of Nebraska” as the finale, which totally made my night. I danced around my kitchen and sang along with gusto.

Sometime in the middle of all that, it occurred to me to be present…to look at my life from an outside perspective and appreciate it for what it was. I started off having a crummy day, and ended it with a private home concert, during which the performer talked DIRECTLY TO ME and played me a song.

Even better? The video from that night is up on Twitch, so any of us can pull it up and watch it again. Be sure to follow Jonah — hang out with us for the next couple of weeks and win some things!

The world we live in right now is AMAZING. It’s a world in which Willie Wonka would have had a ball. We can have just about whatever life we choose, with a little bit of effort.

The magic is there. We just have to find it.

***************

Follow Jonah Knight on Twitch: https://www.twitch.tv/jonahknight
Follow Alethea Kontis on Patreon: https://www.patreon.com/princessalethea

 

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Happy Holidays 2015

December, by Kit Silvertales

December, by Kit Silvertales (Click to visit her Facebook page!)

This year’s Track Listing!

1. Life In A Northern Town — The Dream Academy
2. Christmas Ball Blues — Leon Redbone
3. Pat-a-pan — Charlotte Diamond
4. The Last Snowfall — Vienna Teng
5. Cool Yule — Louis Armstong With The Commanders
6. Cold December — Matt Costa
7. Christmas In The Sand — Colbie Caillat
8. Christmas Tears — Eric Clapton
9. Snow Snow Snow — Danny Fromajio
10. Snow Mazes of Norway — Jenny Dalton
11. All That I Want for Christmas (Is to Give My Love Away) — The Rescues
12. Knee Socks – Arctic Monkeys
13. Something in the Air (Coca-Cola Christmas Anthem) — Lauriana Mae, Jono, Grayson Sanders
14. Joy to the World — Train
15. Santa Claus Is Comin’ to Town — Jackson, Michael & The Jackson 5
16. Two-Step ‘Round The Christmas Tree — Suzy Bogguss
17. A Kiss for Christmas — Luther Vandross
18. The Parade of The Wooden Soldiers — Mantovani
19. Bedtime For Toys — Stevie Wonder
20. Ave Maria (Schubert) — Luciano Pavarotti

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Happy Holidays 2014

2014 Xmas Fairy by Bianca Roman-Stumpff

2014 Christmas Fairy Illustrated by Biance Roman-Stumpff

As promised, here is the Track Listing for my Happy Holidays 2014 mixed CD:

1. Let it Be — Beatles
2. The 12 Days Of Christmas — Straight No Chaser
3. Christmas Paradise — Carole King
4. Winter Song — Sara Bareilles & Ingrid Michaelson
5. Colder Days — Adam Ezra Group
6. Christmas at the Airport — Nick Lowe
7. One Little Candle — Chicago
8. Little Saint Nick — She & Him
9. Carol Of The Bells — Fleming & John
10. Don’t Forget About Me This Christmas — Danny Fromajio & Peter Hajioff
11. You’re A Mean One, Mr. Grinch — CeeLo Green (feat. Straight No Chaser)
12. Christmas Eve Montage — The Nightmare Before Christmas
13. Silent Night Holy Night (Korean) — DBSK
14. Oh Holy Night — Bastille
15. Change In The Weather — Love Spit Love
16. Baby, It’s Cold Outside — John Lithgow & Bebe Neuwirth
17. Butterfly — Lenny Kravitz
18. Candy Cane Jane — Laurie Berkner
19. Christmas Blessings — Dave Padrutt
20. Indiana Christmas — Straight No Chaser
21. Auld Lang Syne — Barenaked Ladies

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SUBSCRIBE TO MY NEWSLETTER! (There’s a special Christmas surprise in the December letter that you don’t want to miss): http://eepurl.com/YSmS1

Christmas Lee

 

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The Thirteenth Christmas

This is a tough post to write, but it must be done.

As Thanksgiving approaches, and more of my beloved friends and family start digging out their Christmas storage boxes and playing music as they decorate their homes, I start getting messages about my Christmas CDs.

Happy Holidays 2012Back in 2001, I didn’t know what to get all my new friends at Ingram for the holidays, so I put together a “Happy Holidays 2001” CD. It only had about 11 songs, and I gave it to maybe 20 people.

The response was so overwhelmingly wonderful that I’ve done a Christmas CD every year since. I’ve borrowed (and even commissioned) artwork from notable artists to use on the label. The number of songs doubled, but one thing remained the same — while the CD was sent around Thanksgiving, I would not release the track listing until December 15th. I always want the first listen to be a surprise…that’s part of the gift.

At one point the number of CDs I made was close to 200. I used these works under a creative commons usage like back when we made mixed tapes…though the lines there blur a bit. I never received any money for them or from them. It was always a labor of love. I simply wanted my friends to know I was thinking about them, and to share some traditional (and non-traditional) music that would make them smile and maybe even think of me.

AlphaOops: C is for Christmas!The last couple of years, the US Postal Service became the biggest burden. While they’ll happily mail a card-stock pop-up Christmas Card for 65 cents, if they find out you’ve put a CD in there, they’ll try to charge you upwards of $2 a letter. I don’t see the point of this…and I just don’t have that kind of money. So I tried my best to subvert the Postal Machine and get my tidings of joy out there anyway. Few things in this life have ever stopped me from doing what I want to do.

And yet, this year — the Thirteenth Christmas — there will be no holiday CD. Trust me — this bothers me more than I can convey in a simple blog post.

This year has not only been tough for me, it’s also been filled with sadness. Mom always listens to my Holiday CD and can sense what kind of year I’ve had based on the song choices with that extra-sensory-Mom-perception that she has. I did not want to bring you sadness this year.

Nor did I want to try and upend the process by making the CD a downloadable file — I have no problem making a “mixed tape” sampling of music I enjoy (and bands I encourage you to become a fan of), but I personally draw the line at sourcing a downloadable file for free music. I wouldn’t feel comfortable doing that unless I had personal written permission from all the bands I included that year…and that’s a lot more work than I’m prepared to do right now.

It’s not that there won’t be a Christmas — I’ll certainly do my best to make this up to you. There will be cards and blog posts and videos…and possibly other things delivered in ways neither one of us has imagined yet. Yule is still my second favorite holiday (after Guy Fawkes Day), and I can think of no better way to celebrate happiness than ushering the light back into the world with a slew of fun things.

Gah–I hate doing this. I hate disappointing people. Please don’t think I don’t love each and every one of you, because I do. And if you have one or more of the CDs I’ve made in the last twelve years, I hope you pop it in and enjoy it as much as I did when I was making it. (And if you have 2003, PLEASE drop me a line because I’m still missing that track listing and my copy is in storage.)

I promise, I’ll come back next year, better than ever. If you are an artist or a musician interested n participating in next year’s CD, please drop me a line as well. As always, magic is better when shared.

*whew* So, with that confession out of the way, back I go to revising Book Three. I leave you all to have a wonderful day and (if you’re in the US) a Happy Thanksgiving holiday.

I’ll be thinking of you.

xox Alethea

Christmas Lee

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Lunch Money @ CCPL

If you have children and don’t know about the band Lunch Money, you should really get on that.

Here’s a video I took of Lunch Money performing “Going to the Library” at the Charleston Public Library on May 30th. It was so awesome to finally see them play LIVE!!

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When Life Gives You Boats…

…you should sing about them.

Thank you, Adam Ezra Group, for making my day SO MUCH BETTER. See you at the Iota show on Monday!

(Everyone’s joining me for my Last Hurrah Party, RIGHT?!?)

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Music Monday

My dear friends The Adam Ezra Group had all the fans at Brighton Music Hall film their “Basement Song”, and then send it in to be edited into this very cool video. This is one of my favorite songs of AEG’s, but I warn you: There are a LOT of words. Listen carefully.

And enjoy!

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Kiss Quick

I’m working hard on getting the outline for Saturday’s book into my publisher. In the meantime, this song has been going through my head since my birthday — my friend Lauren posted on my FB wall and told me it reminded her of me.

You know, it reminds me of me, too.

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Adam Ezra @ Martin’s in Roanoke

Now that I’m hard at work on the sequel to ENCHANTED, there are quite a few things that have moved to the back burner…like fixing up pictures and posting blog entries (the stuff of which keeps popping up in tabs everytime I refresh my browser and driving Joe nuts).

So I promised the Fairy Godboyfriend tonight that I’d FINALLY get together my pics from the Adam Ezra Group Full Moon Show at Martin’s in Roanoke on December 10th. There aren’t too many, but they are officially up in the Picasa album here. We had a wonderful time. As always!

The piece de resistance was when Adam and the boys dedicated a song to a fairly tipsy young girl named Casey, who was celebrating her birthday. Shame on us for not pressing record AT THAT MOMENT, but Joe was pretty quick on the uptake and captured the rest of it for posterity.

It STILL cracks me up. So fabulously perfect.

Enjoy! I hope you all have a FABULOUS weekend. xox

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Happy Holidays 2011!

This year’s CD artwork was inspired (as so many things are) by two of Janet Lee’s holiday ornaments. They are both available in this year’s 2011 limited edition set at Art & Invention Gallery, as well as on Janet’s own Etsy site (for those of us who don’t live convenient to East Nashville).

1. The Most Wonderful Day Of The Year — Glee Cast
2. Mistletoe Blues — Vic Mulkey and The Blue Veins
3. Angels From The Realms of Glory — Annie Lennox
4. Candy Cane — Caspar Babypants
5. Jingo Jango — Bert Kaempfert
6. Fum, Fum, Fum — Mark Baldwin
7. What a Night!– Harry Connick, Jr.
8. Wildwood Carol — Holly Cole
9. Arbolito de Navidad — Gloria Estefan
10. Another Christmas Day — Cliff Richard
11. Lonesome Christmas — B.B. King
12. Il est ne le divin enfantDomingo, Kaas, Fernandez
13. Patapan and Farandole — Kiri Te Kanawa
14. Warm December — Julie London
15. It’s December (And I’ll Be Missing You) — Audrey Hannah
16. December Child — Cyndi Lauper
17. Zwaai Maar Dag Sinterklaasje — Gebroeder Ko
18. It’s A Good Thing Santa Ain’t Single — Aaron Tippin
19. Littlething — Jimmy Eat World
20. There’s Still My Joy — Indigo Girls
21. Christmas Pipes — Celtic Woman
22. The First Snowfall — Bing Crosby
23. This Will Be The Year — Susan Boyle
24. Wheel In The Sky — Journey

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