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Alexandre Abdoulaev
Works at Hanover Theatre
Attended Boston University
Lives in Baltimore, MD
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Alexandre Abdoulaev

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Pre-Gig, Dupont Circle, Sunday 3 PM

Yesterday afternoon, the Butler Parks Hot Serenaders, played to an amazing crowd of over 200 dancers gathered under the sunny skies of Washington, D.C.'s Dupont Circle. Days like this make me wish every day was spent playing hot jazz with amazing musicians to a supportive crowd.
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I would say that Amandla Stenberg's essay is an excellent starting point to a discussion on cultural appropriation, but it should by no means be considered a comprehensive explanation. Here are a few tidbits that I've pondered within the context of this video:

1. At what point do culturally appropriated tropes become so pervasive that they become integrated into the recipient culture? Wearing sneakers and athletic shoes is an excellent example of this. Back in the 70s, rappers used to wear sneakers almost exclusively, to the point where dress shoes were considered the white man's domain. Now, pretty much everyone wears sneakers. Well, except me, because if it's not $200 and Italian-made, it's not going on my feet. But the point is, what once used to be a cultural statement has become so ingrained in our culture that neither the originating nor the receiving culture really considers it to be a statement made about the culture it came from anymore. We just "wear sneakers." So, an examination of similar transitions would be very enlightening.

2. Where is the line between cultural appropriation and homage drawn? Classical music in the early 1900s went through a feverish but brief period of orientalism, where Europe, particularly France, was absolutely balls-out fascinated with anything that came from Asia. It does strike me as inherently hilarious, however, that much of the appropriationist and, oftentimes, blatantly racist imagery from the period is completely ignored. You know, because Asia. So who the fuck cares? Similarly, there are plenty of Asian American stereotypes and cultural tropes that get incorporated into everyday European cultural norms today, but we fail to give these instances proper merit because Asian culture is not at the forefront of cultural innovation. 

And finally 3. Who gets to decide what determines appropriation and homage? I think this is a very important question to ponder, because while I don't really give two shits about Iggy Azalea, Taylor Swift, or Miley Cyrus, I can't, in good conscience, automatically assume that they made the decision to blatantly rip off African-American culture entirely on their own. For one, I feel like they don't have enough smarts between the three of them to do it, but for two, it's always worth looking at the source of who decides what passes for "tropes we can pilfer and reincorporate into popular culture."

(But spoiler alert: it's almost always white, upper-middle-class executive types who don't really understand the first thing about the culture they're ransacking, but certainly have a solid grip on the idea of quarterly profit margins.)

The bottom line is, making cultural appropriation a simple issue of "Hi, we like your culture, but don't give a shit about you as a people, so we're going to steal it" is kind of dumbing it down in a lot of ways. This isn't a criticism of what Amandla Stenberg says, it's just a fact. The very nature of culture is that it simultaneously exists on several levels, micro- and macro-, and to put it in terms that are as simplistic as "stealing things from one culture to make racially insensitive statements" really misses a lot of the nuance of what culture is really all about. 

But definitely watch the video. As I said, it's a really fantastic starting point for a discussion on this topic.
 
Hunger Games star Amandla Stenberg explains the nuances of cultural appropriation.
“Cultural appropriation” is a tricky concept to understand. When does appreciating another culture’s traditions cross over into usurping and/or disrespecting them?
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Sondheim in Baltimore

Last night, I performed as part of the Black Orchid Duo in Baltimore, Maryland. Here's an excerpt of that performance, featuring vocalist Sherry Benedek singing "Send In the Clowns" by Stephen Sondheim.
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lovely voice....you have a wonderful touch on those keys +Alexandre Abdoulaev :-)
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Flakes!

To echo the sentiment behind Frank Zappa's 1980 song, "Flakes," I feel like this is important to talk about as this trend is becoming a really big part of our contemporary culture. Personally, I don't really even care: if you flake on me, I'll just do the thing you flaked on by myself. Hell, I'm probably going to have a better time without you there. Because you know what? I never really liked you in the first place, and your stupid face is stupid. Now get off my lawn before I'm forced to use more harsh language.
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The freshly-made gooey Goma Dango are delicious but the anko inside is piping hot so be careful not to burn your tongue. Alternatively, you can use pumpkin or sweet potato paste instead of bean paste. (^^) 揚げたてのごま団子はもっちりしていて美味しいです。出来たては中がとても熱いので火傷しないように注意して下さいね。あんの代わりにかぼちゃやさつまいものペーストでも作れます。(*^^*)
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Hells to the yes!
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Oh my dear Christ, is this for real. Please tell me this is for real.

I hope to God he is serious. I really, really do. This will be more unintentionally hilarious than Rick Perry's 2012 presidential campaign, and possibly more ill-conceived than Wyclef Jean's 2010 bid for the Haitian presidency. There's something oddly comforting about watching trainwrecks, and I really, really hope this one will be a doozy. #Schadenfreude   #SorryImNotMoreSorry   #waitsrsly  

EDIT: Oh! OH! And it gets better! He announced his candidacy on 4/20!! Wow, this is like a comedy film that writes itself, you guys!!! And that campaign video is pure humor gold.
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Strange Meadow Lark

Quite recently, yet another video from my performance with Sherry Benedek surfaced -- this time, it's the Dave Brubeck/Paul Desmond jazz standard, "Strange Meadow Lark." Because the original version has little in the way of lyrics and a very different feel, we've decided to adopt a set of lyrics (and the associated vocal style) from Sherri Roberts' 1998 album, "Dreamsville." 
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Not long ago, the talented D.C.-area photographer +Jerry Almonte took some pictures of the two bands I play with: the traditional jazz combo Butler Parks Hot Serenaders, and the cabaret ensemble Ghosts of Weimar. For more information on Jerry's photography, please head over to his website at https://jsalmonte.squarespace.com/
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Stumbled upon this find this morning. +Shantha Marie Fountain has an incredible understanding of space, framing, and lines, and a keen eye for small details. Plus, the vintage dress, hair, and makeup deserve a definite seal of approval in my book!
 
Behind The Scenes

Some of you know me as the lady who does crazy make-ups and sometimes fancy portraits of myself; however, sometimes I get asked if I really do it all.  Do I do the make-up? Do I do the hair? Do I really set my own lighting? And, do I really get it all done by myself?

The answer is YES!

I thought, for the AoSP March Challenge Multiplicity shot, I would play off that theme of doing it all while creating my #12monthsofmakeup  Victory Roll look.

I struggled with the look because foolishly I forgot hairspray lol, but once the hair was done, the make-up was simple and classy to match the 1940's era. 

Very soon I will have the actual image processed for that project, but for now...

Enjoy your Sunday, my loverlies! ♥


#selfportraiture   #vintage   #multiplicity   #conceptualselfportraiture   #juxtapixelsphotodesigns  
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+Shantha Marie Fountain My pleasure! Thank you for the top-shelf photographs :)
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The Butler Parks Hot Serenaders: Summit Ridge Drive

On March 1st, my traditional 1930s jazz band, the Butler Parks Hot Serenaders, will be performing in Baltimore. This is the flier for the performance, image courtesy of photographer Jerry Almonte (http://jsalmonteproductions.com/)

From left to right: Mr. Robert E White (drums), me (piano), Mr. Dan Zimmer (saxophone), Mr. Jacob Robbins-Spevack (guitar). Reclining: Ms. Lindsay Kelly (vocals). 
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My hands are in Bobby's shoes. Obviously. #duh
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Yeah, no. 
Limited Edition. Ends Friday, Jan 16. Not available in stores. Guaranteed safe and secure checkout via:  Paypal | VISA | MASTERCARDClick the button below to pick your size and order:
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Too late I already got it for you
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Collections Alexandre is following
Education
  • Boston University
    Musicology, 2007 - 2014
    PhD Dissertation: "Savoy: Reassessing the Role of the 'World's Finest Ballroom' in Music and Dance, 1926-1958."
  • The Catholic University of America
    Music History, 2003 - 2006
    MA Thesis: "Nationalist, Neoclassical, or Both: The Examination of Nationalist and Neoclassical Trends in Ravel's Le Tombeau de Couperin."
  • The Catholic University of America
    Piano Performance, 1999 - 2003
  • Peabody Institute
    Piano Performance, 1998 - 1999
Basic Information
Gender
Male
Story
Tagline
Tagine (n.) a North African stew of spiced meat and vegetables prepared by slow cooking in a shallow ... oh. Tag LINE. Hmm. Don't have one.
Introduction
I only care about offending people I respect.
Bragging rights
Co-author, "Value and Judgment in Medieval Music" (Boston University Press: Boston, 2010). Champion of the All-England Summarize Proust Competition, 1972. In absentia, lead the New York Philharmonic in a command performance of John Cage's 4'33".
Work
Occupation
Pianist, music director, researcher, collector of old-school jazz
Employment
  • Hanover Theatre
    Assistant Music Director, 2012 - present
  • Emmanuel College
    Lecturer in Music, 2012 - present
  • Lasell College
    Lecturer in Music, 2012 - present
  • Performing Arts Center Metrowest
    Music director, 2010 - 2014
  • Boston University
    Adjunct faculty, 2007 - 2012
  • Walnut Hill School for the Arts
    Faculty, 2008 - 2009
  • Washington National Opera
    Faculty, 2004 - 2006
Places
Map of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has lived
Currently
Baltimore, MD
Previously
Boston, MA - Moscow, Russian Federation - Frankfurt-am-Main - Gainesville, FL - Washington, DC
Alexandre Abdoulaev's +1's are the things they like, agree with, or want to recommend.
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