Archive for the 'Profiles' Category

The Woof of Now

Golden Retrievals………………Mark Doty

Fetch? Balls and sticks capture my attention
seconds at a time. Catch? I don’t think so.
Bunny, tumbling leaf, a squirrel who’s — oh
joy — actually scared. Sniff the wind, then

I’m off again: muck, pond, ditch, residue
of any thrillingly dead thing. And you?
Either you’re sunk in the past, half our walk,
thinking of what you never can bring back,

or else you’re off in some fog concerning
— tomorrow, is that what you call it? My work:
to unsnare time’s warp (and woof!), retrieving,
my haze-headed friend, you. This shining bark,

a Zen master’s bronzy gong, calls you here,
entirely, now: bow-wow, bow-wow, bow-wow.


There is a Buddhist idea of being in the now, of being present. You are in a calm middle ground that is not pulled by regrets of the past or by anxiety about the future. You are fully in the moment, you are fully “present.” The demands of ego dissipate, and judgment is in short supply.

This state is blissful and is not easy to attain. Some people practice meditation to achieve this state. Some look to their canine buddies for inspiration. Some special beings simply have this quality from an early age.


When I met David during the AI tour last September, I was struck by his calm presence. He had a joyfulness that rested on a deep peace. He stood there, so patient, so ready for whatever would come. He was present, completely in the now. As I’ve watched him over the past few months, he has shared many different public sides of himself, but through it all, I see a core of calm, of living from his center.

David has a full range of musical connections. He can bring on the schmexy and get us dancing (think Zero Gravity); he can go to that almost agonizing place of yearning and make us ache with pain (think Don’t Let Go). He can also bring us to a place of stillness and peace.

When he sang Angels in Albuquerque, there was a stillness in that dinghy club. Bodies were calm, voices mercifully quieted. David went to that place of deep peace and those of us who were ready, went with him. Past and future fell away and there was only the Voice that took us on a ride. Soaking up his voice felt like a blessing. As he stood up to go, he said, “I love you!”

And I know that he does.

Another fan site has referred to David as Jesus 2.0. A family friend has talked about his “Christ-like nature.” Perhaps. But perhaps he is simply living from his true self, our Bodhisatva David, being present.

– davidfanLIZ


The Boundaries of Fandom


So, last Monday, I read with fascination a discussion that ensued about David Cook’s recent myspace post calling out his “scary fans.” Not surprisingly, a debate got under way about the difference between a “normal” fan vs. a “crazy” fan, the difference between being “obsessive” and being a full on gunning-down-Selena-style lunatic. So, how in this conversation do I go from shaking my head at some of the shenanigans that full-on lunatic stalker-fans engage in to seeing someone lumping “an adult who gushes on about the beauty of an 18-year-old” in the same category as a crazy fan who bugs her idol’s tour bus with a GPS tracker? Since I recognize myself in the former scenario vs. the latter, I am definitely having a “hold up…wait a minute!” reaction.

Let me get this straight since the David Archuleta Bus is the first serious ride I’ve ever taken in the world of fandom. Because I’ve decided that I like an 18 year old who charmed me through my TV screen last year and have been following him ever since. Because I love his voice, his beauty, and what I assume to be his sweet personality and have found an online community of fellow David admirers who love the same qualities. Because he is mentioned in 14 posts in a sea of 400+ posts on my personal blog, and is the subject of four fan videos that I created just for a whole lot of fun. Because I went to one concert of his when he came to town. Because I bought his CD and downloaded his iTunes stuff. I could go on and on, but how do any of these actions even remotely place me in the same category as a stalker-fan who bugs her idol’s tour bus with a GPS tracker? Oh! Because I’m over 30 and gushing over an 18 year old!

What I find remarkably limited about this conversation – a conversation I think is worth having – is the sexist and ageist stereotyping going on, so that instead of just rightly calling out certain disrespectful (and, quite frankly, ILLEGAL) behavior on the part of obsessive fans – because that’s the problem more than what people personally choose to do for their own enjoyment – assumptions are made about who “crazy” fans are “over there” vs. the “normal” fans we all assume ourselves to be. Such assumptions made (did you know, for example, that Arch Angels are really Claymates who needed to find a new American Idol? Funny to me because Ruben Studdard was the reason I started watching American Idol religiously to begin with), especially ones that assume Idol stalker-fans are either “unattractive” or “fat” or “bored housewives,” do nothing to address the ways that stalker-fans who show no respect for the artist they admire should be roundly dismissed or chastised for their bad behavior. Instead, these assumptions are designed to belittle mostly women and girls who dare to go over the top in their love and appreciation for the artist and his music. Ever notice how when guys develop obsessions over music or sports or gaming, and travel to every concert or fan conference and every sports event, they’re not called “stalker-fans,” they’re just called “hardcore fans”?

I’m bringing this up because I find it disturbing that it would be so easy to lump all fans in the same category of “crazy,” especially those of us (women in particular, who have often been characterized in patriarchal societies as “hysterical” since we have “wombs”) who publicly declare our love and admiration for David Archuleta (as if the story is about him but somehow Archies are a “point of reference”). For I do believe there is a difference between disrespectful obsessive behavior and just your average ODD when you log in to your favorite fan site on a regular basis and get your latest David news or watch your latest David YouTube video. I don’t have certain resources to travel to several concerts, but for those fans who do, more power to ’em is what I say! As long as nobody is getting hurt. Fortunately, JD (and prior to that, ND) has never made me or anyone else feel like a “bad fan” because we didn’t or couldn’t attend David’s solo tour. Perhaps in not being judgmental in these ways, I’ve never thought to question which of us was “normal” and who is “the crazy over there.” Besides, we’re already so self-critical and mature enough to know the boundaries of our fandom, we don’t need to point fingers at anyone but ourselves – if we care to or worry about it at all.

Having said all this, I would be remiss to also not mention that, within every fandom, and David’s is hardly unique in this way, the boundaries have been drawn, and JD is here precisely because ND’s blog owner no longer felt his views were welcome. Needless to say, hierarchies are established – from those who think they have an “in” with the artist (or the artist’s family member or band member) to those who create “insider” groups within a fan site.  Regardless, I always have to ask the basic question: why am I apart of this community? Or any community? Someone or something binds us together. Here, it is the love of the artist and his music. When that stops being the point, it’s time to move on, or it’s time to regroup and refocus.

I’ve never had the desire to be a groupie. If an artist is in town, and I want to see him, I see him. Or, if I have an opportunity to travel somewhere for vacation or to meet up with members of said community, that’s the enjoyment and the pleasures of fandom, I would think. Music is such a personal gift, a direct connection straight to the heart, that there’s a reason that music artists, more than any other celebrity, inspires the fanaticism. But, to me, whenever fanaticism bumps up against respect issues and privacy issues, then we have a problem. Traveling hours to see your favorite artist in concert is about love and respect. Calling up your favorite artist’s hotel room number or tracking his tour bus, that requires a restraining order.

At the end of the day, where’s the fun and the joy that started us on this journey? I hope we, as JDers, will always keep this goal in mind and not ever lose sight of this aspect of our love and enjoyment of David.

– Hello Gorgeous

A Growing Force

Composition in Black and White

Composition in Black and White

For the true artist, the journey is never easy. It is as complicated as the one who travels it. He must labor for years perfecting his craft, which to his own impossible standards, is never fully realized. The execution of his art is always outdistanced by his vision. This paradox causes any artist worthy of the name to be plagued at times with self-doubt and angst. He must, moreover, engage in constant battle with forces that would diminish his art, and so diminish him. He must find the courage to be supremely indifferent to the opinions of others. If the existing state of affairs in his chosen field is anathema to who he is as a person, he must reject it and risk being considered uncool. Rather than conform to the status quo, he must, like David Archuleta, be a renegade.

Those of us who have followed his career for the past year, have been astounded by the exponential growth we have witnessed. Gone is the shy, awkward immobile singer of mostly ballads. He now takes the stage with a cat-like graceful stride and can bust a move and plug his megawatt energy into a crowd till the whole house is bouncing and rocking. He can still belt out a ballad, but is now moving with rapid precision to master pop, soul, funk, alternative rock, and blues. He has recently drawn on his Honduran roots to sing in his first language, caressing those soft consonants with a perfect accent and plaintive delivery that will lay you to waste. He moans, he growls, he falsettos, he acappellas, he riffs in exultant abandon. Midway through his set he is drenched in sweat and the crowd is hoarse from screaming.

He leaves us breathless and we do not know how he does what he does to us. We only know that he does it better than anyone else. Aside from his unsurpassed vocal prowess, he has the power to transmit on a cellular level by his facial expressions, indeed, with his whole body, raw, undiluted, take no prisoner emotions that are nothing short of physical in their intensity.

He is at once the laughing young boy and the man with the firmly set jaw and piercing gaze. He is the rebel with a cause, the reluctant renegade, the good man who is hard to find. He fascinates, intoxicates, bewitches, bothers and bewilders. For all his goodness, David Archuleta possesses a positively wicked charisma.

What lies beneath is a gifted, serious artist with something to say, and the ability, supplied by all of the above, to make himself completely understood.

– Angelica

beebee created a lovely downloadble PDF ready for framing of this post.
Just right click on the link and it will open as a PDF, then you can save it to your hard drive from there. A Growing Force

Sunday, I went to the symphony


Sunday, I went to the symphony — the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra, to be precise. The program included works by Smetana, Beethoven, and Dvorak.

The symphony soothes my soul. The perfection of the music gets into my mind and rattles around, pushing out all thoughts but the thoughts of the music. It offers 80 minutes of priceless, uninterrupted, tranquilizing therapy. Well, that’s the way it used to be, before I knew David.

Now I live knowing David, and I am amused to report that as I sat there and allowed the music to enter my mind and start the therapeutic rattling and pushing, one thought did interrupt: “Boy, would I love to hear David Archuleta sing with them.”

Not the whole time, mind you. I still got my mind-calming money’s worth, but I did have the thought more than once. I even pondered it briefly during the intermission. I asked myself: “Is this really where I would like to see him end up? Those dumpy bar concerts sure were energizing and he has a lot to offer in that venue.”

But the fantasy remains. I would love to hear David Archuleta sing with a symphony. It wouldn’t really matter to me what he sang. We all know he can sing anything.

I read that, next Saturday, the program is “Swingin’ with Sinatra and Dorsey.” Hey, those songs have lyrics, someone could sing along. Not David I know, but it gives food for thought.

Maybe, someday in the future, David can accompany the NJSO in a program entitled, “The Essential Archuleta.” A girl can dream can’t she?

Now that we have gotten a glimpse of the potential of David Archuleta the performer, I thought it would be fun to share where each of us would like to see him in say 5, 10, or 20 years…. Be good.


P.S. On my way out, I made eye contact with a woman who had to be 90. OK maybe 79, but not a day younger. She was with three friends. She said to me, “Did you know he is only 29 years old?”

“Who?” I asked.

“But he is married,” she added, “he had a ring on, honey.”


“The conductor.”

“Really, only 29?” I said. “He was amazing.”

“He was more than amazing honey, and he was so cute!” she said to me with a bright smile.

“He was so little,” her friend added, “and so young … but he was powerful.”

“You know girls,” the third friend chimed in, “good things come in small packages.”

The four friends giggled and smiled and continued to swoon as I walked away.

Women of all ages, we love our musicians. Some things never change.

The Musical Brain

Have you ever wondered, as I have, what goes on in the mind of this musical artist we have all come to respect for his talent as well as his very nature?

In a recent radio interview, the deejays invited David to play a word association game. I found it amazing how his answers were so off-the-cuff that David had the deejays baffled. One of them commented on how interesting it was to see how David’s mind works. It seems that his thought process is a little different from most of ours.

As one of David‘s friends said in an interview during AI7, “Music is David’s life.” Music is part of every fiber of his being. It is in his thoughts so much he often sings bits of songs in his conversations. The video clip above (credit to bop2datop11) shows David in everyday conversation, singing whatever song comes into his mind as he is speaking. He is immersed in the music in his mind and it just flows out of him.

I stumbled upon an episode of W5, a Canadian news-magazine program that caught my eye because of its title, “The Musical Brain.” I naturally thought of David.

Interestingly, the program reveals how the brain of a musician is wired differently from that of a non-musician. The artist studied was none other than Sting, who volunteered to be the guinea pig in neuroscientist Daniel Levitan’s study. The scientists discovered that musicians respond poorly to predictability.

Amateur and non-musicians use the right brain for pitch and melody and the left for language. In a master musician, like Sting, the info is shuttled back and forth between the two hemispheres simultaneously.

The scan of Sting’s brain revealed never-before-seen images of the massive fibrous tissue that connects the left and right brain and its ability to shuttle info back and forth. We cannot know how David’s brain works, of course, but I speculate that he is a musician of the most masterful kind.

Music is a universal language, one that we understand before birth — and one that has been used in every culture to express deep emotion, things that cannot be expressed with words.

Whenever David sings, no matter what he sings, I feel it, with everything I have. David has a true musical brain as well as a musical soul, as Sir Andrew Lloyd Weber has pointed out. A combination that is a blessing to us all. — refnaf

P.S. If you’d like to check out the rest of the program, click here.
Not sure if it will work outside of Canada! eh!

It’s an Inside Job


It’s a marvel the world keeps spinning
Sometimes I wonder how
The angels must be winning
In spite of what we humans still allow.

What passes for a good idea
Just amazes me
And how it’s wrapped and sold to us
Is simply trickery.

And along comes David,
So beautiful to see
Captivating audiences
from sea to shining sea!

But look into those eyes, my friend
And look into them deep
You’ll see that it’s an inside job
And he intends to keep….

Our souls together, whole
Wrapped up in a fleecy
All snuggly in his heart
Wherein we share his peace.

Yup, it’s an inside job
Within that outer beauty
Laughing ‘cross the stage he goes
Shaking his little booty!

And you can laugh at me, you see
It really doesn’t matter
If I’m the Fool on the Hill
Or maybe the Mad Hatter.

‘Cus David’s gonna get you
Exactly where you live,
Wherever you’ve been hiding–
It’s what he’s come to give.

Yup, it’s an inside job
and David’s doing the hiring!
So open up your heart
And let him do the rewiring.

– highervibe, 3/17/09

Brotherhood of Man

3809davidathob1“Only connect.”
— E.M. Forster, Howards End

“I liked how up close and personal it was. It felt kind of like a campfire thing. We were all like, ‘Gather ’round.’ I dunno. Just kidding.”
— David Archuleta, Arizona vlog

Connecting through song is one of David’s most sublime gifts. It’s as if, with each breath, he draws in our deepest hopes and fears and gives them voice.

We, in turn, feel every ache, burst of joy or pang of love because our true selves are laid bare in each note. But this is no surprise to anyone who’s listened to David sing Imagine, Somebody Out There — even Shop Around.

What is a surprise is how much stronger this connection between David and his audience has become on this tour.

A tour for which David selected small intimate venues so he could be “up close and personal” with each audience. So he could look into our eyes as he sang, touch our hands, touch our hearts.

It’s no coincidence so many of his songs mention hands — holding on, reaching out, not letting go. Making connections and fighting to keep them strong.

It’s this connection to us that is David’s greatest gift on stage — perhaps even greater than his Voice. The ability to make every single person in his audience feel he is singing directly to them. Because he is.

He pulls us right up on stage with him so we’re all sharing the experience together. We start singing along to My Hands, so he holds the mic out to us. We mirror his gestures to Barriers and crack him up. A soft voice quietly asks, “Sing in Spanish,” and he does. Not performing for us but with us. Connecting to our energy, our love, and we respond in kind.

A telling moment in each show is when David asks the audience if he can take a photo to remember his first solo tour. Cook did that too, on the Idol tour. But the difference here is, our David makes sure he’s in the picture with us.

We’re one, but we’re not the same
We get to
Carry each other
Carry each other


Quotable ArchuQuote

"I'm just David and a lot more people know who I am now than before, but it's not like I'm a different person because of that." — Square Magazine, Jan./Feb. 2009

From the notingDavid Archives

"One of the reasons I know that David Archuleta is truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience is because there is an entire category of people who find themselves inexplicably drawn to this remarkable young man who are not the kinds of people commonly–if ever–given to fanaticism of any kind.” - Rascal
notingDavid, June 1 Trust the Archulator

From the Comments

"I just listened to How Great Thou Art. NEVER have I heard anything so moving and beautiful. Just when I think I’ve heard the most beautiful sound in the world, he goes and does something like this. He keeps outdoing himself. I swear his voice could stop wars.."
— betsy


"He pulls us up on stage with him,” all right! Then he shakes the dickens out of us ’til all the stuffing comes out our heads!! GAH.
- — highervibe

Random ArchuPoetry

Wishing for wings, I've waited
but none were sprouting
then you came to take me up.

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