Hamlet at Festivall

Festivall‘s Shakespeare night was a great success. Those of you who missed the performance of Hamlet by the visiting American Shakespeare Company really missed out on a unique, spectacular evening of entertainment.

The Scottish Rite building was the perfect venue and one I hope gets utilized more in the future, its old-fashioned atmosphere and stadium seating was perfect for the play and the auditorium was packed with an enthusiastic all-ages crowd.

The ASC players doubled as a indie-folk before the play and during intermission, covering pop hits like “Cups” and “Mad World” in an acoustic, The Decemberists style. More importantly the troupe had a firm grasp of the material as well as the natural comedic abilities to bring out the subtle humorous nuances of the Bard’s drama.

The audience was enraptured from beginning to end and I’m so happy to have been a part of such a dazzling and culturally rich experience. I hope the American Shakespeare Compamy will be invited back to perform Much Ado About Nothing…and Taming of the Shrew and MacBeth and anything else they’re willing to grace us West Virginians with. Bravo!


Mary Lambert: Heart On My Sleeve

Mary Lambert’s debut full-length album is aptly titled Heart On My Sleeve. The Seattle singer-songwriter, who garnered national attention for her “Same Love” collaboration and Grammy performance with Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, is not one to shy away from baring her heart through her lyrics. It was her own gut-wrenching song “I Know Girls (Body Love)” that first captured our attention here at Muruch and we’re loving her debut album.



Much of the album contains peppy pop tracks in the vein of Sara Bareilles, such as the opener and first single, “Secrets.” I prefer Mary’s big voice and piano playing (which rival Allison Crowe and Tori Amos) without so much polish, but her unabashedly confessional lyrics continue to set her far apart from other artists.

The album truly comes alive and showcases Mary’s extraordinary poetic talent with the beautiful spoken word “Dear One,” which melts exquisitely into the equally enchanting love song “When You Sleep.”

She transforms Rick Springfield’s classic uptempo pop song “Jessie’s Girl” into a pretty piano ballad. Her yearnful, gorgeously multi-faceted soprano adds new dimensions to the unrequited love anthem.

Angel Haze and K.Flay guest on the track “Ribcage” and the solo tracks “So Far Away” and “Monochromatic” are the standouts among the pop songs.

Yet it’s the album’s more quiet, wistful moments that grab the heart and make Mary’s music so compelling. I only wish that heartfelt acoustic side had been explored a bit further and that “I Know Girls (Body Love) had been included. Granted the song was previously released on EP, but Mary’s full-length debut is her true introduction to the world at large in the post-Grammys limelight. Thankfully the finale, “Sum of Our Parts” plays like a triumphant self-acceptance sequel to “Body Love.”

Mary Lambert’s Heart On My Sleeve is one of the stronger debuts of recent years and will definitely be on my best of the year list. Mary Lambert deserves to be a star and the world needs to hear her spectacular music and poetry.

Buy @ Amazon

Mary Lambert Official Site


Introducing Michael Persall…

If you like Puppies or Nutella” was the subject line for this Muruch music submission. I usually hate such press release gimmicks, but Michael Persall knew how to hook me and more importantly the 21-year old NYC singer-songwriter’s music and smooth falsetto lives up to the lofty subject teaser. “Stance” is from Persall’s upcoming second EP, This & That, and he will have a CMJ showcase on October 24th.

Michael Persell Official Site


Pop Goes the Culture: Frank O’Hara’s “Lana Turner Has Collapsed” (Poetry)

Another essay I wrote for poetry class…

Lana Turner has collapsed!” by Frank O’Hara

Lana Turner has collapsed!
I was trotting along and suddenly
it started raining and snowing
and you said it was hailing
but hailing hits you on the head
hard so it was really snowing and
raining and I was in such a hurry
to meet you but the traffic
was acting exactly like the sky
and suddenly I see a headline
LANA TURNER HAS COLLAPSED!
there is no snow in Hollywood
there is no rain in California
I have been to lots of parties
and acted perfectly disgraceful
but I never actually collapsed
oh Lana Turner we love you get up

We often think of celebrity obsession as a modern form of escapism, one that goes hand in hand with technology and social media. Yet the aristocratic sphere of celebrity and the common man’s fascination with it is almost as old as humanity itself…certainly as old as Old Hollywood. Long before there were TMZ, blogs and Twitter, there were tabloids — a fact cleverly satirized in Frank O’Hara’s poem, “Lana Turner Has Collapsed!.”

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Throwback Thursday: “I Got a Man” by Positive K

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