Rand and Erin album update (Seanan McGuire Indiegogo perk!)

As you may know, Rand and I are working on an album together. I’ve already shared our Indiegogo link once, but I wanted to take a moment to highlight a really special fundraising perk.

In 2013, we were invited to be the Filk Waifs (Toastmasters) at FilKONtario and our dear friend Seanan McGuire agreed to write our bio for the program book.

Of course, if you know Seanan at all, you’ve already guessed that what she supplied was no ordinary bio: she wrote an original short story, casting the two of us as characters. That story has only appeared in the program book, until now!

Campaign pledges of $30 or more get you a digital copy of that bio/story! And that’s not all the Seanan you’ll find on this project!

One of the tracks is a parody of Seanan’s song “Dear Gina,” with lyrics by me and Merav Hoffman. The song imagines that October Daye has gained sentience outside book world, realizes that Seanan is the one doing all of these horrible things to her, and threatens revenge. 😀 (You can see the lyrics, and an early performance of this song, here.

(Additionally, Seanan is going to supply us with some vocal tracks!)

I hope you’ll click the link and find out more about our project!

OVFF concert set

Rand and I had a truly fantastic weekend at OVFF. Among the highlights for us was our 4-song concert set on Sunday afternoon, during which we got to debut 3 new songs that will appear on our upcoming album! (Here’s our Indiegogo page, if you are so inclined!)

The four songs we played were:

I’m a much more confident performer than I was four years ago at FKO, and I owe it all to this wonderful, supportive, nurturing community. Thank you for making me believe I could do this!

I’m so proud of the songs Rand and I have written for this album. They are all the results of truly collaborative efforts–I don’t (yet) write any music, just lyrics, so the music/melodies are all Rand (except “Do As Peggy Says,” which was a collaboration with Adam!). With only a couple of exceptions, all the original lyrics on our upcoming album were written by the two of us together, with the actual process varying from song to song.

And I can’t end this post without mentioning the amazingly talented Amy McNally and Brenda Sutton, who helped make “Nasty” everything we dreamed it could be. <3

We also got to spend some time hanging out with the whole Vixy & Tony band to talk about some tracks on the album they’re going to assist us on. (squee!)

I’m probably not going to get around to a full con report, but it was an amazing weekend filled with friends and music and laughter, and I’ve got a bit of the back-to-work blues today. (And as usual, there was too much to do and I did not get around to a whole bunch of things I had planned on doing, so my apologies to anyone I neglected!)

As always, many thanks to the ConCom for all you do!

Nasty

Lyrics by Erin and Rand Bellavia, music by Rand Bellavia

My story’s been told and it’s older than time
Older than fables or nursery rhymes
They try me then try me then try to set fire to me
Though I’ve committed no crimes

Whatever the scene they aim to demean
Peasant, princess, servant or queen
They try me than try me then cry to the sky
Unclean, obscene, and everything in between

No broom or bubbling cauldron
There’s no evil in my eye
But if whatever I do is called sin
Then I confess that I

I am nasty
I am timeless
I will not be silenced
I am alive with fire and fury
And I will fight til the tide has turned

We are nasty
We’re the forsaken
We will not be shaken
We are the daughters of the witches
That your fathers failed to burn

You say that you’re blessed
There’s no need to redress
Surely your best
Destiny’s manifest

Then profess I’m possessed
You detest and arrest me
And suggest I confess to my sin

But as you might have guessed
I’m less than impressed
You’re obsessed, grotesque
And repressed; I request

I express my protest:
Unless Yes is the Guest
I attest the oppressed cannot win

No broom or bubbling cauldron
There’s no evil in my eye
But if whatever I do is called sin
Then I confess that I

I am nasty
I am timeless
I will not be silenced
I am alive with fire and fury
And I will fight til the tide has turned

We are nasty
We’re the forsaken
We will not be shaken
We are the daughters of the witches
That your fathers failed to burn

Do As Peggy Says

Lyrics by Erin and Rand Bellavia, music by Rand Bellavia and Adam English

If you’re listless and you feel like you were meant for more
If you’re enlisted but you always end up missing the war
Support your friends, always offer to help
Know your value, stand up for yourself

And do as Peggy says
Do do as Peggy says

If you’re at work and having trouble getting recognized
Taking shorthand when you know that you’re a super spy
Sometimes you gotta fight to make things improve
Just plant both feet and say, “No, you move!”

You gotta do as Peggy says
Do do as Peggy says

All the daring women have got to believe
Just like Sharon and Simmons and Steve
You gotta do as Peggy says
Do do as Peggy says

If you’re restless and you feel like we’ve been here before
Nothing’s too big to fail but some are too big to ignore
You know how to make a better world
Just know your value and fight like a girl
Better do as Peggy says
Do do as Peggy says

Fighting the Black Thing

lyrics by Erin and Rand Bellavia, music by Rand Bellavia

(inspired by A Wrinkle in Time, by Madeleine L’Engle)

There’s a battle being fought across the universe
Who and why and where and what and when
Weak and strong or right or wrong
It’s been going on so long
Feels like we’ll never find our way back to the light again

There’s a lesson being taught across the universe
And all we have to do is imitate
It’s not who we are or what we say
It’s what we do: the Imago Dei
We were created to create

Not everything is black and white
But I know the wrong when I’m in the right
Sometimes even angels fight
Gotta dig through the dark until you find the light

So stand with me and fight with me
Dance and sew and write with me
We can’t win unless we all take part
Paint with me and cook with me
Make a comic book with me
We fight the Black Thing best by making art

There’s a refuge being sought across the universe
From desperation and despair
Grab a pen and find your voice
Find a tool and make your choice
It’s the only immortality we share

There’s a battle being fought across the universe
But there’s more of us who love than those who hate
Fear and anger feed the dark
But empathy can be the spark
That lights the light that shines so bright when we create

So build with me, invent with me
Conduct experiments with me
Engage the world with head and hand and heart
Sing with me, compose with me
Write poetry and prose with me
We fight the Black Thing best by making art

Day 7: Creativity

Been away from the posts for a few days, but I knew this was one I wanted to tackle.

Creativity has always been important to me. When I was younger, I thought I was going to be a fiction writer. I’ve had a bit of success, here and there, at short fiction. Thing is, there’s not much of a market for short fiction, and I’m not sure I’m a novelist at heart. I don’t have BIG IDEAS. I’m kind of lousy at plotting.

My creativity manifests in other ways, though. I’ve been doing calligraphy since I was in high school, and I maintain an Etsy shop where I sell my calligraphy and paper crafts.

Lately, though, it’s been coming out in the form of songwriting. Well, lyric writing. I’m not a musician, but I am married to one. 🙂 And being married to one has brought me into a whole community that has nurtured and supported this creativity.

The past two years, I’ve participated in something called February Album Writing Month. (That link goes to my profile.) The idea is to write 14 songs-an album’s worth-in 28 days. Now, I haven’t made it to 14, or anywhere near, but it’s been a useful exercise anyway. This year, I posted three things…one of them, a lyric that’s been around for a while that has finally been set to music. I ended up adding two lyrics that aren’t quite finished. In my drafts I also have a Peggy Carter song (tentatively “Do as Peggy Says”) that I’ve been trying to write this for a year now. I’ve made a little bit of movement, but It’s giving me a rough time. There’s also a chorus inspired by a FB post conversation that still doesn’t have a song, and two brainstorming lists that I’m hopeful will turn into something at some point. I call that a win.

All of this is moving toward an album that Rand and I are going to record this year. (eep!)

All of this is to say that, while I’m not doing what I once thought I would be doing, I’m really happy with my creative life right now. I love being able to create and collaborate and feel supported and enriched by it.

(The poster imaged above–designed by Karen Paddison–features lyrics from the song “Take it Back” by Kathleen Sloan. It’s based on a speech made by Barry and Sally Childs-Helton when they were inducted into the Filk Hall of Fame. I am proud and humbled to count these people among my friends.)

OVFF 2016 (with a brief history)

I’ve told the beginning of this story before, but I’ll tell it again, (briefly) for the sake of those who need catching up.

Once upon a time, a long time ago, I met this nerdy guy named Rand, who was in a nerdy rock band. This nerdy rock band played at Comic and Science Fiction conventions, but they were also a part of this thing called filk. (Here’s a Wikipedia article about Filk; and Debbie Ohi’s Filk FAQ)

I’d been introduced to filk as a concept by my close personal friend Amanda before meeting Rand, but Rand brought me to my first filk convention in 2005. And (I know I’ve said this all before), while I was immediately taken with the community, I did not think I would ever sing in front of other people. Or write a song. Or sing a song I wrote in front of other people.

Well, slowly but surely, I was proven wrong on all counts. This community can be, uh, very persuasive.

pegasus-concert
(photo courtesy of Sunnie Larsen)

And this year, you guys, I (along with that nerdy guy of mine) was nominated for an award. (we didn’t win the award, but that doesn’t matter so much, really…) I got to perform that song in a concert with all the other nominees. And if you’ll forgive me for going all Sally Field for a minute (even though it didn’t win), people liked it. They really liked it. The response from the audience during the performance was amazing. And then, all weekend, people I knew, people I didn’t know, and people I’d just met made it a point to tell me how much they enjoyed it. Here’s a link to Cliffs of Insanity as performed at FilKONtario in 2013. (I’d absolutely love it if someone shared video from the Pegasus concert…)

It was a tough ballot all the way around. I mean, it usually is, but it was a really tough ballot. In multiple categories, there were at least two nominees I’d have loved to see win.I think I congratulated most of the winners in person, but if I didn’t, congratulations!

I have a lot more to say about this convention in particular, and this community in general, but I don’t think I have the brain cells for it at the moment. I’ll leave it at this:

This community means the world to me. There are infinite reasons I’m glad I met Rand, but you–the people I’ve met through and because of him, this found family full of acceptance and support and guidance that has helped me to find the courage to do things I never thought I’d do–I wouldn’t be who I am right now without you. Thank you. I love you.

(I didn’t prepare an acceptance speech, but if I had, it would have been something like that. And who knows…I might still get to say it someday. ;))

 

 

Talk Nerdy to Me

This is my parody of Poison’s “Talk Dirty to Me,” performed during our concert at Marcon, with ASL by the lovely and talented Judi MIller. (Thanks again to ladypoetess for the recordings!)

Lyrics by Erin Bellavia and Amanda Marlowe

You know I never
I’ve never met a guy like you
You dream you’re part of Malcolm’s crew
‘Cause you like it
And you know I like it too
And oh, those tight pants–ooh
I wanna cosplay
Oh, yes I do

You know I’ve never
read Tanya Huff ‘til dawn
I’ve never been to Comicon
but I’d like to
And after watching Tron
we’ll watch some Doctor Who
and maybe Torchwood

Cause baby, we’ll be
in the filk room (alt: at the filk con)
Singin’ songs till four
Or buying Saga
at the comic book store
down to the book sale
then we’ll read some more
And baby, talk nerdy to me

You know your grammar
Your grammar truly thrills my heart
It’s obvious you’re really smart
I wanna hear you
When you say big words to me
Like “ostensibly”
I gotta hear you

Cause baby we’ll be
writin’ fanfic
about our OTP
Or chasing Gollum
you are precioussss to me*
We’ll read web comics
let’s check xkcd
And baby, talk nerdy to me

cause we’ll be
Readin’ Scalzi
Redshirts or Old Man’s War
Or buying Rat Queens**
at the comic book store
down to the book sale
then we’ll read some more
And baby, talk nerdy to me

*this line may change, but I didn’t come up with anything I liked prior to performance

**this line will probably be changed, in light of recent news about this title

Fight Like a Girl–now with video!

(lyrics in previous post)

Fight Like a Girl

This is a new song Rand and I have been working on…we’re trying hard to have it ready to debut in a circle at this weekend’s FilKONtario. We also plan to perform it in our concert at Marcon in May.

UPDATE: we now have video, thanks to the awesome Tom and Sue Jeffers. 😀

I can roar like a lion, though I look more like a lamb
And I know I’m so much stronger than you all think that I am
I’ll stand up for every person in the world who’s ever heard
Someone say, “You’re not a fighter, you’re just a girl”

I’ll fight like a girl
I’ll fight like a girl
I’ll fight like a girl
I’ll fight until I’ve won
I’ll fight like a girl
I’ll show ’em how it’s done
I’ll fight like a girl
I’ll make them all eat their words
And fight like a girl

I’ve taken down vampires, zombies, Sith lords, reavers, and spies
I’ve escaped from countless supervillains without the help of the guys
I’ve destroyed evil empires and cheated death like a pro
With my stake, my katana, my battle staves, and my bow

(Repeat chorus)

Bridge:

My name is Kamala, Natasha, Michonne
It’s Katniss, it’s Zoe, it’s Sarah, the clone
Buffy, Veronica, Bobbi, Barbara, Diana, Melinda, and Rey
Call me Leia, or Sydney, or Peggy, or Carol, or Kara or October Daye

I’ll fight like a girl
I’ll fight because I’m right
I’ll fight like a girl
I’ll fight all day and night
I’ll fight like a girl
I’ll fight the dark with the light
I’ll fight like a girl
I’ll punch, kick, and bite
I’ll fight like a girl
I’ll fight with all my might
I’ll fight like a girl
I might even decide to not fight
Nah

I’ll fight like a girl
I’ll fight until I’ve won
I’ll fight like a girl
I’ll show ’em how it’s done
I’ll fight like a girl
Til everyone in the world has heard
I’ll fight like a girl