My Happiness Receives A Daily Jolt of Somber

It seems as though I can no longer feel a full 24-hours of happiness. I have never been prone to a bleak attitude and am adept at showing “the tears of a clown” when in public for the want of making others happy by keeping any sadness I feel from them. But not as of a few years ago when my beloved workplace took a hairpin turn to the right throwing off everything and everyone into several tumultuous years that show little sign of self-correcting the negative flow of constant overwork.

Yesterday, I played the song “Yes, We Can Can” by Allen Toussaint demonstrating the 1973 version recorded by The Pointer Sisters in two of my audio classes, pointing out various sonic details in the song and how an audio engineer achieves these sort of things in the mix session. It kept me in a perky state all day as one class at 9a and another at 5:30p heard the great song, and I even sung it during the ride home after a 13-hour work day. “I know we can make it. I know that we can. I know darn well that we can work it out…” I had no idea until I awoke this morning that Allen Toussaint died last night after a performance in Madrid, Spain at the age of 77.  Somehow, I channeled him, bringing my students and me the happiness of his funk groove, great lyrics, and the sonic pleasure of The Pointer Sisters recording of it by Arranger, Engineer, Mixing Engineer, and Producer David Rubinson as Allen took his last breath on earth. R.I.P. Allen Toussaint.

This brings me back to another moment of somber which does not diminish the happiness I felt yesterday provided by the now dead composer, but certainly stepped on my groove for today, the 11th of November. This day usually causes a revolt in my heart as America celebrates Veterans Day because when I read the first line in the link provided:  “The mission of the Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA) is to fulfill our Nation’s promise to Veterans for their service and sacrifice to our Nation,”  I think of my numerous students who are Veterans trying to obtain a promised education who have to come to me in embarrassment every semester with the reality that they can’t purchase certain requirements of the course because their check from the government has been delayed again. There is no delay when the government sends these soldiers off to war, but when it comes to truly caring for our Veterans upon their return, the U.S. government needs to take a good look at the O.V.A., clean house, and do the job it purports to in its mission statement.  Never mind that I’m a pacifist and wish that no nation need an army. I find the words of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. more akin to my spirit on this day: “”Wars are poor chisels for carving out peaceful tomorrows.” Still, I thank those who have served and who serve now for what must surely feel like time in hell when we are at war whether it be a declared act of Congress or the multitude of covert wars our country engages in around the globe.

Peace out.

“…just like Pagliacci did/I’ll try to keep my sadness hid

Sad Clown

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About danaj33

I have been teaching in the Broadcast Electronic Media Art department at City College of San Francisco since 2001. I was a part-time faculty member until 2009 when I became full-time. My career as an audio engineer spans 27 years since the first day I began to record and mix songs on my Tascam PortaStudio (cassetter 4-track) in the early 80's while attending college at UC Berkeley. I formed a couple of bands and sang lead (sometimes playing rhythm guitar) until 1988 when I discovered that the "behind-the-scenes" tech realm was much more to my liking. I love how an audio engineer controls the ENTIRE sound mix, and not just one's own instrument. I then began a career as a live sound engineer in earnest and have toured extensively throughout the U.S. and Europe as front-of-house sound engineer for a multitude of bands on various record labels (most notably "Medicine" on American Recordings) and have been a staff engineer at the venerable Bottom of the Hill nightclub since their inception in 1991. The club and its staff are like family. I have maintained a live sound production company since 1989 called dcj Productions that has provided sound to the Bay Area community (mostly in the non-profit sector) in both large outdoor sound events as well as nightclubs and music halls. In 1991, I started recording bands on an 8-track Tascam TSR-8 analog tape recorder and moved into the digital realm in 1993 to 16-tracks of Alesis ADAT connected to a Soundcraft Ghost console in my home studio. In 1995, I advanced to Pro Tools and have been recording exclusively digital ever since, combining audio skills in sound for film as a location recordist as well as an engineer in post-production sound design and mixing. I remained "strictly analog" in my live sound mixing until just this past year (2012). Now that one can obtain a decent, live sound digital mixer at an affordable price, it was high time to check out digital for live. I now have a Presonus StudioLive 16.4.2 to work on with my students to give them much needed hands-on experience with a digital console. I co-owned and ran APG Records & APG Studios, an SF record label and recording studio, from 1999 - 2004 which had a distribution deal through EMI. The company folded in 2004. I continue to record music and engineer live performances at many Bay Area venues in addition to full-time teaching at CCSF. In 2001, I was hired to the part-time faculty at City College of San Francisco in the Broadcast Electronics Media Arts department where I have taught many of the classes including Digital Media Skills (BCST119), Basic Audio Production (BCST120), Digital Audio Production (BCST124), Sound Recording Studio (BCST125), Sound For Visual Media (BCST126), Advanced Sound Recording (BCST127), Sound Reinforcement (BCST128), Audio for the Web (BCST135), Video for the Web (BCST136), and Field Video Production (BCST145). I have also taught classes in sound design, audio for animation and games, music video, and computer applications at Art Institute of California-San Francisco, Globe Recording Institute, and Laney College in Oakland, CA. A few CCSF Projects: - Produced a promotional video for the Math department Bridge Program titled "Quadratic Rap". - Produced a new employee orientation video for the Human Resources department at CCSF - Coordinated audio for camera - SF Mayoral Debate, Fall 2011 - Coordinator of Audio Industry Advisory Panel for BEMA, Fall 2011 - Co-Coordinator of Video Industry Advisory Panel for BEMA, Spring 2012 Outside Affiliations: - past Vice President and Interim President Board of Directors - Bay Area Girls Rock Camp - past volunteer/contributor to Women's Audio Mission - past member Bay Area Women in Media and Film - current member of Audio Engineering Society - current Board of Directors for Camp Reel Stories
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