Friday, October 31, 2008

It was the light in things that made them last.




First person: Catie

Catie talks about being an elementary school teacher (and is seriously adorable and hilarious in the process)

Catie talks about children from Casey Parks on Vimeo.

"Sometimes I feel a little creepy now ... especially when I'm out at the bars, like 'I love small children.'"

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Another fall song

A song I'm really loving. I especially love the harmonies when they sing "but honey I am done staying up all night waiting"

Gillian Was a Horse

Monday, October 27, 2008


I'd like to give a shout-out to Beyonce for using correct grammar. Her new song is If I Were a Boy. Bravo, Beyonce! Now can you convince Neko Case to change the name of "I Wish I Was the Moon?"

Sunday, October 26, 2008

My art: Dustin Parks' poetry

I want this blog to be about other people, about the things the people I meet have dedicated their lives to. I want it to be about fleeting passions (seconds) and life-long loves (decades). My brother, Dustin, started writing poetry a few years ago. It's actually ironic - as a teenager, he only read one book. But now, he's quite the literary. This poem holds the intersection of seconds and decades. I really love it. He wrote it for his first-ever poetry class:

Rapid Eye Movement

My bed transformed into an old water-damaged sailboat,

marooned in a field, miles from the infested suburbs.

I worked part-time in nearby pastures herding sheep,

but ran away when offered a job as a lab technician.

Then fired 3 days later for denouncing stem cell research

Homeless once again

I camped out for 18 nights in the attic of a theater

peering down on empty seats, imagining applause.

I've driven across endless bridges (they seemed familiar).

Dark clouds held them up

with thin fishing line. There were no guardrails

for my passengers' protection.

I've had 93 dates with my kindergarten sweetheart.

Each time I get closer to finding out where she lives.

Last Tuesday I flew a red flag

from my tricycle's handlebars,

then peddled my way into a crowd of businessmen

while screaming REVOLUTION!

I was thrown in jail after a low-speed chase

Labeled a terrorist by the long arm of the law.

Burned the patriot act to keep

me warm at night. After my court trial,

I was sentenced to work an entire year

with the greatest show on earth.

I walked tight ropes made of dental floss,

but brushed my teeth with strands of wires.

I went all the way with the bearded lady

(she is shaved in all the right places). I woke up

right before I could climax, like always.

Opening my eyes to only see the morning

wood. I am convinced my pineal glad is a virgin

who finds some sick humor in this strategic arousal.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

First person: Dana

Dana Rae talks about chin hair -- from school teasing to Dana Rae's nana asking for one Christmas wish -- that the chin hair be gone.

Dana talks about their chin hair from Casey Parks on Vimeo.

"I should mention I have a lot of chin hair because I have PCOS -- which stands for polycystic ovarian syndrome -- and that's just like one thing. I'm also Sicilian, so I'm just hairy."

*Note -- I know this still isn't great visual quality. I'm hoping I can learn about / buy some lights soon. I just had to pay $900 for brakes in my car, though, so it'll be a while. Until then, enjoy the stories??

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

I interviewed/videod this group of 12- and 13-year-olds last week called Still Pending. They covered the Who's Pinball Wizard, and it was so freaking good. They also do some originals, which were also awesome. They only have one song recorded and online I think, but watch out for them. I was seriously impressed (video to come on my journalism blog soon):



Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Killer parties almost killed me

I went running this morning, and all the trees are losing red leaves. This isn't the song I was running to (I prefer rap or Tegan and Sarah's "Living Room"), but when I'm not running over red leaves, I'm celebrating a multi-hued fall with this song:

Killer Parties

Monday, October 20, 2008

My stuff: Isolde

Another new feature for the blog, Ten Things people own. I'm starting with Isolde. Click a thumbnail to see her stuff.

Isolde explains:

(l-r, by row)

1) I won reader of the year because I read the most books. I included the books that I had written, which, come to think of it, might not have been very kosher.

2) For Christmas one year, my mom got me this lime green thong. Not even wrapped. Because, she said, every woman should have a sexy pair of underwear. To this day, it's my most expensive pair.

3) Joan Didion's "White Album" taught me how to dress like a journalist: long, black peasant skirt, black top. Inconspicuous, basically.

4) People get upset about celebrating or commemorating 9/11, but I'm glad we still do. I interviewed some of the widows of 9/11, and some of them said their husbands just hadn't come home yet. That was so surreal.

5) If there were one item I could have on a desert island, these would be that. The idea of being found with a unibrow sort of terrifies me.

6) American! Portland, Ore., 2008

7) I've listened to this tape a jillion times, and I probably have a fabulous dance to go with it. I was into pretty, indie chicks in middle school. I would have included Liz Phair, but I couldn't find it.

8) With my brother, Finn, in a photo booth in Seattle. We spent very summer day as kiddos together. He's in Belgium now, and I miss him.

9) Tea for one: I love tea, being Irish and all. This was a luxury purchase back in the Skagit Valley, bought so I could make delicious pots of Irish breakfast tea.

10) A gift from Levi, my bf and BFF. I collected perfume samples when we lived in France in 1992 (the 200th anniversary of guillotining Louis XVI), and Fleur de Rocaille was my favorite.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

First person: Randi

One of the new features of my blog will be a first-person video. I'm hoping to post one a week. The first is of Randi talking about being a twin.

Randi Orth from Casey Parks on Vimeo.

"Do people ask you if you know what they're thinking? That's ridiculous."

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

I was so sad

Months ago, I wanted to make a podcast that incorporated different voices. Asking everyone to talk about their grandmothers would have dragged on, I thought. What you need, a friend told me, is an anchor. I have loved this poem for years. It's from a poet no one I know has ever heard of, typed in a $6 book from a small San Francisco press. What if I got my friends to read different parts?

That's what this is: A recording of everyone from an 82-year-old Southern lady to 17-year-old krumpers reading lines from one of my favorite poems. They complete each others' sentences. They mix together to produce a whole. Some I recorded in person. Others, over the phone or the Internet. One person was so nervous it took her one hour and a beer to read. Another finished his performance of all three lines in under a minute.

I asked every participant to pick about three lines they wanted to read. Some people got to say their lines a few times, but no one ever had a chance to hear their lines and later record. Not even me (believe me, it was tempting).

I imagined this project would work so differently. I needed way more people and time than I thought I would. But I am proud of what it became. In the months I spent recording, I learned so much about poetry. When I started, I thought there were 10 lines everyone would choose. One of these -- "made my home in the breakdown lane" was one of the last lines chosen. A line I hated -- "four monkeys and a garbage truck" was one of the first chosen. Taste, it turns out, is subjective.

I had even thought whoever records last will hate their lines, will be stuck with the worst words. But listening closely, I heard him say right before he read his line, "Oh, I love this. This line is great."

I learned about enjambment. Breaks really do change everything. A line like "reached the end of my patience when the moon walked through the door wearing my brand new sweater" had always seemed silly to me. When I heard a friend read "the moon walked through the door," I realized how much beauty was in between the sentence.

Poetry has always been a solo thing for me. Spending months reading poetry with people, talking the lines over and searching (always) for meaning, I found poetry to be totally brand new. People read lines with inflections I never would have considered. They found beauty in lines I had never noticed.

Eventually, the book fell apart. Too many people bent back its pages. An English teacher meticulously taped the pages back together again. Afterward, she read her lines. I should say now that every woman over 60 who read easily outperformed everyone else.

But, decide for yourself. After six months, here it is:

"I was so sad" by David Lerner, as read by like 50 people:

If the embed option doesn't work for you, you can also download the file: Here!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Celebrating the last day of sunshine and the end of heartbreak with Q:


Reminder: the new blog debuts Wednesday.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Guess who's back?

Extra, extra:
The blog is coming back Oct. 15. Not in its old capacity, of course, but look for new features. I'm hoping to update three times a week. There will be some pictures, some video, some sounds, some words.

In the meantime, here is a song I like a lot: